In short: As many as 67% of smartphone users say that they use their phone while on the toilet while the remaining users seem unwilling to admit the behavior, according to a recent phone behavior survey conducted by Salt Lake City-based Reviews.org. That’s by comparison to just 7-percent of the 200 surveyed users who claim they use their device in the shower and a majority of users who claim to not “drunk text” their ex. Meanwhile, at least one 55-year-old from New Jersey also claimed to “always” use their handset “during sex” and an average of 44.5-percent who search for “adult content” – split 58-percent to 34-percent for men and women, respectively.
Background: Setting aside the more questionable behaviors covered, what the new survey really seems to highlight is smartphone addiction in both younger and older demographics. The fact that users tend to become addicted to the technology isn’t necessarily new and the addiction has even been formally classified as tied to an anxiety disorder called “nomophobia” since 2014. Moreover, it’s been known for some time that age differences don’t immediately equate to more or fewer issues with that in a general sense. While this more recent study does touch on that, in addition to gaps between genders in phone usage, it also highlights how the behavior gap between the oldest and youngest users isn’t as wide as might be assumed.
For example, the majority of users between the ages of 18 and 24-years-old join users over the age of 54 in believing that they are “somewhat” addicted to their smartphones. They also place importance on not looking at their devices while on a date, despite checking their devices up to 160 times per day. Bearing that in mind, the addiction is definitely still there. Those same users surprisingly also agree that children in middle school are old enough to have a smartphone of their own. Conversely, just under half of all users surveyed do admit to looking at their devices while on a date. As many as 91-percent feel uneasy if they leave their handset at home despite that only just above 76-percent claim to be addicted. More than half of all users also admit to checking their phone while driving or texting others who are in the same room.
Impact: The results of the survey aren’t necessarily universal since the sample size and apparent limitation to users in the US need to be accounted for. In spite of that fact, it does seem to strengthen the results of previous studies highlighting the addiction. Research similar to this is actually behind a recent shift from many technology companies that are now focusing on helping users monitor and self-limit their use of mobile devices, rather than encouraging additional use. In fact, Google has gone so far as to bake some features aimed at solving addiction right into its recently Android 9 Pie as part of a ‘digital wellbeing’ initiative. So it is actually important that studies and surveys like this one continue to be done in order to find the best ways to address the issue. As useful as smartphones can be, too much of anything is not good.
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