A NEW study reveals that almost half of all British adults (45%) spend time in the toilet on activities which are additional to their primary reason for being there.

The research, carried out for the AA’s Home Emergency Response Service as part of its State of the Nation’s Homes series of reports, showed that the most popular activity is to send or receive texts (20%), which has overtaken the traditional bathroom pastime of reading newspapers, magazines or books (16%).

Facebook is used on the loo by one in eight people (13%), although that rises significantly for the younger generations. A third of 16 to 24-year-olds (33%) say that they use facebook while on the toilet, compared to only one per cent of people over 55.

The study found that those who conduct activities such as logging on to social media, texting, reading or playing games on their phone while in the toilet spend an additional seven minutes each day doing so.

That adds up to a combined figure of more than two million hours - or 232 years - which the nation spends in the loo on additional activity, every day.

The multi-tasking might have come about as people realise just how long they spend in the toilet and look for ways to maximise their time spent there. The researchers found out that after age of 16, the average Briton will spend 263 days of rest of their life on the loo.

That looks set to increase as more people use smartphones to send messages, use social media or play games and videos. The average 16 to 17-year-old spends 13 minutes longer than they need to in the toilet, compared to just four and a half minutes for those over 65.

The toilet seems to have become an acceptable location for communication for many people, with eight per cent saying they make phone calls while on the loo.

Those from the North East spend the longest in the loo each day, with an average of 21 minutes, followed by Londoners with 20 minutes. The region with the briefest visits is the South West, with an average of 13 and a half minutes, with the next shortest the East Midlands with just over 14 minutes.

Although women are commonly thought to be better at multi-tasking in most walks of life, the roles are reversed when it comes to the bathroom. Males are more likely to be toilet multi-taskers, with 53% of men saying they carry out other activities while “on the throne”, compared to 38% of women.

Tom Stringer, head of the AA’s Home Emergency Response Service, said: “It depends on your point of view as to whether the additional hours the nation spends in the toilet on extra activities is a waste of time, a sensible way to multi-task or simply a chance for people to grab a few minutes down time in a busy day.”