Ofcom: UK 'Addicted' to Smartphones

Put that damn thing down!

August 4, 2011

2 Min Read

LONDON -- New Ofcom research reveals the extent to which the UK has become addicted to smartphones, with people confessing to using them everywhere from the dining table to the bathroom and bedroom.

Over a quarter of adults (27 per cent) and almost half of teenagers (47 per cent) now own a smartphone, according to Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report. Most (59 per cent) have acquired their smartphone, which includes devices such as iPhones, Blackberrys and Android phones, over the past year.

Users make significantly more calls and send more texts than regular mobile users (81 per cent of smartphone users make calls every day compared with 53 per cent of ‘regular’ users). Teenagers especially are ditching more traditional activities in favour of their smartphone, with 23 per cent claiming to watch less TV and 15 per cent admitting they read fewer books.

And when asked about the use of these devices, 37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teens admit they are ‘highly addicted’.

The rapid growth in the use of smartphones – which offer internet access, email and a variety of internet-based applications – is changing the way many of us, particularly teenagers, act in social situations.

The vast majority of smartphone users (81 per cent) have their mobile switched on all of the time, even when they are in bed, with four in ten adults (38 per cent) and teens (40 per cent) admitting using their smartphone after it woke them.

Over half (51 per cent) of adults and two thirds (65 per cent) of teenagers say they have used their smartphone while socialising with others, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of adults and a third (34 per cent) of teenagers have used them during mealtimes and over a fifth (22 per cent) of adult and nearly half (47 per cent) of teenage smartphone users admitted using or answering their handset in the bathroom or toilet.

Teenagers are also more likely to use their smartphone in places they’ve been asked to switch their phone off such as the cinema or library – with 27 per cent admitting doing so, compared with 18 per cent of adults.

Ofcom’s research found that the line between work and social time is also becoming increasingly blurred. Thirty per cent of smartphone users say they regularly take part in personal phone calls during working hours, compared with 23 per cent of regular mobile phone users. However, smartphone users are more likely to take part in work calls while on holiday or annual leave. Seventy per cent say they have ever done so, with a quarter (24 per cent) admitting to doing so regularly, compared with just 16 per cent of ordinary mobile phone users.

Ofcom

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