By Paul Sandle
LONDON (Reuters) - Teenage Britons are spending more and more time using smartphones to make calls, send texts and use social networking sites, and more than half of those that own the devices claim to be addicted to them, regulator Ofcom said on Thursday.
Over a quarter of adults (27 percent) and almost half of young people aged between 12 and 15 (47 percent) now own a smartphone, such as Apple's iPhone, Research in Motion's Blackberry or one of many handsets running Google's Android operating system, according to Ofcom's Communications Report.
Some 59 percent of the smartphone users sampled had bought their devices in the past 12 months, the survey found, and more of them were making calls and sending texts every day than users of regular mobile phones.
When asked how addicted they were to their mobile phones on a scale of one to ten, 37 percent of adult smartphone users admitted to high levels -- seven or above -- of "addiction," with this rising to 60 percent of teen smartphone users.
The survey found that despite the rise of broadband and smartphones, television remained as popular as ever, with viewing increasing to an average of just over 4 hours a day, up by about 18 minutes over 10 years.
Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, commissioned a survey of 2,073 adults and 521 teenagers to compile the report on smartphone use.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle)