The internet has topped a list of modern-day essentials that Britons have said they cannot do without.

A bath or shower and a television came second and third on the list, leaving comforts such as a daily coffee and make-up further down.

Just under half of those polled (48%) said they could comfortably go longer without seeing their family than using the internet.

And one in eight (12%) admitted that they could forego food for longer than they could go without logging on to social media sites.

Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line Home Insurance, which commissioned the research, said technology now dominates most people's essential daily uses.

She said: "What we deem to be essential is an extremely personal choice, and something that varies between individuals.

"For the average person, technology now dominates their list of essential daily comforts, perhaps because we are so reliant upon these items and enjoy the luxury of being connected."

Psychotherapist Christine Webber said: "The ability to check facts and find information, as well as be in touch via social media with friends and family wherever they are in the world, has become our number one essential for 21st century living."

:: The research was conducted by Opinium Research online among 2003 UK adults between October 3 and 6.