Britons spent 65 per cent more time online in April 2010 than they did during same month of 2007, a new study has revealed.

The analysis by UK Online Measurement (UKOM) showed that UK internet users were on the web for 884 million hours during the month.

Social networks and blogs, increasingly seen as an important element in search engine optimisation strategies, accounted for the lion’s share of online activity, with Britons spending 23 per cent of their internet time on these sites, up from nine per cent in 2007.

UKOM said that during April, a total of 176 million hours were taken up by social networks and blogs, up 340 per cent on the 40 million hours spent on the portals three years earlier.

The biggest online casualty of the rise of social networking has been instant messaging, it added.

In April 2007, this was the most heavily used sector, accounting for 14 per cent of time spent on the internet. Last month, it accounted for just five per cent.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 18.3 million UK households had online access in 2009.

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