According to Mori, it's no longer the TV remote at the focus of battles in the home. Families are now rowing over who gets to use the computer.

The research suggests that 90 per cent of families are fighting over the PC. It was found that 43 per cent of parents of nine to 17-year-olds have set up rules for how much time their child can spend on the net.

The London School of Economic's Dr Magdalena Bober told BBC Online: "Younger family members usually get priority use over the machines. Priority is most often given to older siblings who have urgent homework to finish."

Access to the Net is fundamental to the majority of young people with homework to do. According to the research, 90 per cent of young people need Web access for homework. About 72 per cent also use it for e-mail. Surprisingly, just 70 per cent use their computers for playing games.

Dr Bober said: "Many families also resort to buying additional computers or laptops to solve this problem. Over a third of nine to 19-year-olds have more than one computer at home."

According to the Office of National Statistics, 35 per cent of people in the UK access the Internet from home via a dial-up connection, on a pay-as-you-go basis. About 29 per cent access the net on unmetered dial-up and 31 per cent have an always-on, broadband connection.

The survey was carried out for Packard Bell. It also found evidence that people are also accepting the PC as the entertainment hub of the home.