It's common knowledge that social media has become a huge part of our everyday lives. However, sites like Facebook and Twitter are now so popular they account for more of our online time than any other single activity.

This is according to a new study by global information services company Experian, which analyzed how Internet users in the U.K., U.S. and Australia spend their time on the Web. It found that for every hour a Brit is connected to the Internet, they spend 13 minutes on a social networking site or forum.

This is more than entertainment, which receives an average of nine minutes and online shopping with six minutes.

Somewhat surprisingly, reading and sending emails is responsible for just two minutes, while news and media accounts for three minutes.

Social networking is even more popular in the U.S .and Australia, receiving 16 and 14 minutes of each hour respectively.

It seems that among the group, Brits are the most passionate about e-commerce, with the average Internet user spending10 percent of their online time shopping in 2012, compared to 6 percent in Australia and 9 percent in the U.S.

Unsurprisingly, buying things online is most common during the Christmas period. In last year's festive season, roughly 370 million hours were spent purchasing goods and services on the Internet. This is 24 per cent higher than the usual monthly average.

When it comes to consuming news, Australia leads the way, accounting for 6 percent of total online time. In Britain, it is responsible for 5 percent, and makes up four percent in the US.

The Internet has also created new industries with plenty of exciting job opportunities. Whether you’re interested in becoming a fully qualified Web designer or a social media guru, there is no better time to get on board in digital in the U.K. thanks to the Government funded 24 Plus Loan.