I admit that I, like many others today from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, am attached to my smartphone. I actually suffer some anxiety when I don’t have it with me, or can’t get to it when I hear it buzzing, alerting me of a notification or text message. The fact that I can do almost anything I need to do during the course of my day using my smartphone is of incredible value to me. From doing research to shopping to navigating my way to a new location (or an old one); to keeping abreast of current events and staying in touch with friends and family, I rely on my phone. My minutes of talk time are minimal compared to my data (lots of apps) and text usage. Ironically, the task for which I use my smartphone the least is to “talk”. If I could take one material thing with me on a desert island, there’s no way I’m leaving my phone behind (assuming I have a cell phone signal booster!). I’m keenly aware I need to set boundaries for myself in some areas like my compulsion to look at notifications from social media and news apps for the sake of my own personal well-being (i.e. sleep, verbal interaction friends and family). However, long story short, this Boomer loves her smartphone.
According to Pew Research, 77% of Americans own a smartphone. including 73% in the age group 50-64.
When looking at smartphone owners by age, penetration is highest among Millennials aged 18-24, 98% of whom own smartphones. Millennials aged 25-34 are right on their heels, with a 97% ownership rate, followed by Gen Xers aged 35-44 at 96%, making smartphones nearly ubiquitous among these generational segments. Nielsen Outlook
I’m not alone in my smartphone obsession. According to a CNet Survey , 71 percent of Americans keep their mobile phone next to them when they sleep; 3 percent sleep with phone in hand. In the past few years, Americans average 2.37 hours per day online via a mobile device. Statista Digital Market Outlook
Gen Z and younger Millennials have grown up with connectivity. They don’t know a world without immediate access to information, texting, social media, or streaming. Older Millennials along with Gen X and Baby Boomers recall a time before the smartphone, but this modern compulsion with smartphones crosses generational lines.
Much has been written recently about smartphone “addiction”, and its impact of our lives and on society. There’s also lots of suggestions for limiting our smartphone use like locking it up for a certain amount of time each day, or setting your phone to grayscale to avoid the emotions and triggers that can be evoked by bright colors.
Recent research shows we’re all more sucked-in and tuned-out than ever – and it’s taking a toll on everything from our productivity at work, to our emotional and personal well-being at home. Are you attached to your smartphone? Could you actually do without it for a day without extreme anxiety? I’m a huge fan of technology and connectivity, but are we too connected to technology? Should we log off occasionally and tune-in to human connections?
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