UK smartphone owners ‘never more addicted to devices’

Lots of people wake up in the middle of the night and look at their phone – and if this applies to you then you might not have to feel too guilty about it.

This is because the practice is commonplace and widespread, according to the findings of a new study from Deloitte, which revealed that UK smartphone owners have never been more addicted to their devices.

A survey of more than 4,000 people carried out by the industry research and advisory firm revealed the extent of our obsession with smartphone technology. More than four in five UK adults (81 per cent) have a smartphone, with this figure slightly higher at 90 per cent for 18 to 24 year olds.

In the sixth annual Mobile Consumer Survey carried out by Deloitte, it was established that an estimated one in three UK adults – and half of the nation’s 18 to 24 year olds – check their phones in the middle of the night.

This means that more than 15 million people could be running the risk of disrupting their sleep patterns, as 32 per cent of people in this position check their phone for messages and over a sixth go on to reply to them.

As well as waking up in the night to look at any new messages, one in ten smartphone owners instinctively reach for the handset the moment they wake up – and this excludes those who are simply switching off their alarm. One-third reach for their phones within five minutes of waking, and over 50 per cent do so within 15 minutes.

The reasons for doing so are typically checking for new messages, which was cited as the main reason by 29 per cent of respondents. This was followed by personal emails and social networks by 19 per cent and 15 per cent of UK adults respectively.

Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, said this shows how smartphones are being used by people on a daily basis.

“For the first time we have captured data on the UK population’s nocturnal smartphone habits and have found that the smartphone is truly a 24/7 device, particularly among younger age groups.”

Smartphone use also appears to be having an increasing impact on social behaviour, with a third of young people in the 18 to 24 year old demographic admitting that they use their mobile either always or very often when socialising with their friends, watching television or shopping. Similarly, over ten per cent also do so when eating at home or when out at a restaurant.

A third of all 18 to 24 year olds said they have had arguments with their partners because of these habits – and this figure increased to 38 per cent for 25 to 34 year olds.

Mr Lee emphasised the importance of striking an effective balance between responding to messages and not being anti-social with the people around you.

“Smartphones are personal devices, but their usage impacts those around them. As with most emerging technology, consumers will need to learn how best to run their lives with smartphones, as opposed to having their lives run by their devices.”ADNFCR-2155-ID-801826005-ADNFCR

Written by Mazuma

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

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