A nation of smartphone addicts

Published 06 September 2011
New research has revealed the extent to which smartphones are taking over our lives, with people unable to switch off even when they go to bed or the bathroom.

The study by Ofcom found that 37 per cent of adult and 60 per cent of teenage smartphone users are “highly addicted” to their iPhones, Blackberrys or Android phones.

The broadcasting watchdog’s latest Communications Market Report found that more than a quarter of adults (27%) and nearly half of all teenagers in the UK (47%) now own a smartphone.

The report said that teenagers in particular were ditching more traditional activities in favour of spending time on their smartphone, with 23% claiming to watch less TV and 15% saying they read fewer books.

It added that the use of smartphones for everything from internet browsing, to making calls or emailing, is changing the way many people – but teenagers especially – behave in social situations.

A massive 81% of smartphone users admitted to having their smartphone switched on all the time, even when they are in bed.

More than half of adult users (51%) and two thirds of teenage users (65%) say they have used their smartphone while socialising with others.

Nearly a quarter of adult (23%) and third of teenage users (34%) have used their smartphone during mealtimes, and more than a fifth of adult (22%) and nearly half of teenage users (47%) even admitted to answering or using their handset whilst in the bathroom or toilet.

Even places that explicitly ask for phones to be switched off aren’t being spared the smartphone invasion, with 27% of teenagers admitting to using their smartphone in the cinema or library.

The research found that work and leisure time are increasingly overlapping as people take personal calls at work and work calls while at home or on holiday.

According to the Ofcom report, 70% of smartphone users have taken a work call during their holiday or annual leave – 24% saying they do so regularly.

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