UK’s love affair with smartphones continues

How much do you rely on your smartphone? How long can you go without checking it?

We all know that smartphones have become truly indispensable items, helping us manage our day-to-day lives, stay entertained and keep in touch with loved ones.

Yet sometimes it seems we just cannot put them down.

That's why it's interesting to go beyond the anecdotal evidence and put some firm figures on just how dependent on our gadgets we've become.

According to Deloitte's latest Mobile Consumer Survey, one in three 16 to 75-year-olds check their phones in the middle of the night.

This is particularly common among young people, with two-thirds of 16 to 19-year-olds regularly feeling compelled to check their phone at nighttime.

A quarter of teenagers go even further by actively responding to any messages they receive after turning their lights out.

The survey revealed that people also waste no time in reaching for their smartphone when they wake up in the morning.

Some 34 per cent of respondents said they check their handset within five minutes of waking, while 55 per cent check it within 15 minutes of opening their eyes.

It's the same story when they're about to go to bed, with 79 per cent looking at their smartphones within the last hour before going to sleep.

And it seems smartphones are never too far away in other aspects of our lives too, such as when we're sitting down to eat with friends and relatives.

Figures showed that about 30 million meals per week – about half of all UK meals – are disrupted by at least one person using their phone.

So while smartphones are undeniably useful items, is there a danger that our love affair with them might be going a little too far? Perhaps!

Smartphone zombies

According to the Deloitte survey, 53 per cent of 16 to 75-year-olds use their smartphones while they're walking.

In other words, that's 22 million British adults wandering around transfixed to their screens, rather than their surroundings.
 
Many of these could therefore be putting themselves at risk. Indeed, 11 per cent of respondents admitted to using their smartphones when they're crossing the road.

Both these habits are rife among young people in particular, with 74 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds using their handset while walking and 21 per cent using them when crossing the road.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Lee of Deloitte observed: "Most people can relate to 'smartphone zombies', either through being one or bumping into one. 

"But this is just one indication of just how infatuated we are with these devices, for better or worse."

However, Mr Lee went on to stress that while people are often glued to their smartphones, these devices are also becoming "the glue that is binding society together".

"[Smartphones] will "soon become the primary way to communicate, interact and transact with customers and fellow citizens," he commented.

Are people conscious of their smartphone addiction?

Deloitte took an interesting step with this year's survey, asking for the first time whether smartphone owners are aware of how much they use their device.

Nearly two-fifths of those polled said they believe they use their phone too much – and more than half of 16 to 24-year-olds feel this way.

But as you might have correctly guessed, not many are actively doing anything about it, with just 14 per cent saying they're making an effort to control their usage and succeeding.

A further 34 per cent said they are trying to manage their usage but not doing very well, while 26 per cent aren't trying to control this habit but want to.

It's really interesting to lift the lid on our smartphone habits, as the findings are clear proof that we're in an era where many of us simply can't live without the devices – not for long anyway.

But the findings are also a worthwhile reminder to try to strike a healthy balance, so we don't miss out on interacting with our nearest and dearest or end up putting ourselves at risk.

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is the UK's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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