A mother decides to install a chip in her daughter’s head to be able to control where she is, what she sees, who she talks to and even to block swearing or nudity without the girl being able to avoid it. The program that allows it, developed on a tablet, is Arkangel. Arkangel is not a reality (yet), but simply a fictional idea from which Jodie Foster directed an episode of the fourth season of BlackMirror. For now, to allay the rampant fears of parents, there are other alternatives in real life: some mobile GPS tracking applications, smart watches for children and Bluetooth locators. The latter measure no more than three centimeters and can be placed anywhere (although, for now, unlike BlackMirrorare not injected into the brain).
Nearly 14% of internet users use one, such as Apple’s AirTag or Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag. Of that 14%, more than half, 7.5%, say they use it to locate other people, such as their children, and thus be able to know where they are at all times. Those are the figures established by the 24th study Navigators on the Net prepared by the Association for Media Research (AIMC) and presented this Thursday. To produce this study, the association surveyed 15,000 Internet users over the age of 14 at the end of last year, as it does every year. Thanks to the results it offers, certain behavioral patterns can be detected in Internet users, such as, in this case, the use of these pagers.
Bluetooth locators can be very useful for those who tend to lose sight of valuable objects, such as house keys or wallets, but also to keep track of their suitcase when traveling or their car when it is left in a public car park. And, of course, to know where the children are. Since the company run by Tim Cook began marketing this device in April 2021, the use of this and other models has become widespread. However, in countries like the United States, precisely the possibility of locating other people with them has already caused cases of harassment and monitoring, mainly women, by being placed, for example, in the victim’s backpack without the victim noticing. In February, Apple assured through a statement that these were isolated cases, but it was forced announce a series of measures to improve security, as well as offer tips and tools to users.
Locators are not the only devices that have become popular over the last year: smart speakers such as Alexa or Siri grew by up to 15% in 2021, three points more than in 2020. It is precisely Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, the most popular of all, ahead of Google and Apple. Last year, 14.5% of users used it several times a day, especially to request songs or radio stations, but also the weather, traffic or Internet queries. And yes, there are also fictional examples in this case: the platonic relationship of a man with his personal assistant in the movie Her.
The constant connection time decreases very slightly
47.5% of users admit to using the Internet “almost constantly”, as explained by Pablo Alonso, the association’s general technical director, during the presentation of the report. Only 0.3 less than in 2020. Alonso has insisted that, although in 2021 we were not confined as in the first year of the pandemic, during the time the survey was carried out, the Omicron variant had begun to spread and many spent less time on the street in order to save Christmas, something that could explain the slight variations in habits in 2021 compared to 2020.
The average daily time we spent online last year was four hours and eight minutes, four minutes less than in 2020, but 15 more than before the pandemic. Close to 20% came to be connected eight hours a day.
The mobile phone continues as a star device
According to the data obtained, the smartphone continues to lead the podium among the main devices we use to access the Internet: 92.5% of Internet users use the smartphone habitually. 72% make daily use of the laptop and 47.5% of the tablet, but only 13.8% use smart watches or smart watch, although the figure has increased by 2% since 2020.
Regarding the internet connection, half of the netizens surveyed by the AIMC claimed to have had unlimited mobile data during 2021, and more than 30% already access 5G networks (a figure that is double that in 2020 ). The use of QR codes also continues to rise. Almost half of the users used them during the last week, at the time of answering the questionnaire, and, above all, to consult the menus of bars and restaurants, which is almost double that in 2019.
Lighting dominates the internet of things
The use of home automation, of devices with an internet connection that are installed in the home, continues to increase. In 2021, more than 40% of internet users had one at home, compared to 29% in 2019. Lighting devices, such as smart bulbs, continue to lead the rest of the devices, ahead of those that allow the surveillance and small appliances.
Facebook continues to lose audience while Instagram is hot on its heels
For the fourth year in a row, Facebook has lost users. It has suffered a 15 point drop since 2018, although 70% of the netizens surveyed continue to use their account. Instagram, also owned by Meta, consolidated its growth in 2021 with 64.6% user penetration, 2.5 points more than in 2020 and 24% more than in 2016. TikTok also continued to grow, but still very behind Instagram, with 21.5% of users among those surveyed.
Practically, 83% of the users surveyed claimed to have accessed social networks at least the day before, 5% less than in 2020.
Covid-related applications are still on our mobiles
65% of users say they have requested the digital vaccination certificate and almost 50% still have an application related to the coronavirus installed. A little over 20% still have Radar COVID, the official application of contact with positivesalthough its use fell by 15% in 2021 compared to 2020.
Cookies are annoying, but they are accepted
More than half of internet users find the cookies. Almost 46% consider that it is not a useful method. However, 70% usually accept them, with a greater or lesser level of configuration. Almost 50% believe that they steal too much time, although, yes, with regard to the use of personal data, 21% accept that they are used appropriately.
Although most find advertising to be a problem, they end up clicking
Almost 63% of users believe that there is too much advertising on the internet. In fact, it is the problem most mentioned by those surveyed, ahead of security, browsing speed or privacy. As explained by the technical director general of the AIMC, despite this, two out of three interviewees remember having clicked on an ad in the last month and one out of five acknowledges doing so daily.