November 30, 2012
Americans Have Love/Hate Relationship With Their Mobile Phones
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
When Americans are asked about their cell phones, they have plenty of great things to say about these handy little devices. As it turns out, Americans are also fickle creatures and have plenty to say about what they don´t like about their phones as well as a swath of annoyances the devices bring into their daily lives.
This is the topic of a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project survey on how Americans feel about their mobile devices.
“In a nutshell, this is the modern dilemma: There is pronounced social pressure for people to stay connected and respond quickly to the incoming blizzard of contact from others. At the same time, many people wish they could disengage every once in a while,” explained Aaron Smith, a research associate with the Pew Internet Group and lead author of the report.
“The challenge is for people to manage their time and their contacts in a way that gives them oases of peace and quiet, without being so disconnected that they miss out on important social moments.”
Previous surveys have revealed that 85% of American adults have a cell phone of some sort, Smartphone or otherwise.
This survey not only proves that a large majority of us carry a cell phone, but we have a pretty weird relationship with them as well.
For instance, the Pew Group found that 67% of American adults will check their cell phones for emails, messages and missed calls even when the phone didn´t buzz, ring or notify them otherwise.
A total of 18% of these people said they exhibit this behavior “frequently.”
Many of us keep our phones close by at all times, particularly when it´s time to go to bed. As many as 44% keep their phones next to the bed when they go to sleep at night so as not to miss any important messages or updates.
Also, 29% of Americans have reported being in an awful way when it comes to their cell phones, saying their handset is something they “can´t imagine living without.”
Some of us are aware that this relationship might not be the best thing for us. For instance, 11% of those surveyed said they worry that they are spending too much time interacting with their glowing screen. A total of 12% said their friends have had to have a talk with them concerning how much time they spend with their phones.
And yet, for all the good and convenience these cell phones bring to our lives, the Americans surveyed for this study had plenty to complain about as well. For instance, while a significant number of Americans said they practically sleep with their phones and couldn´t imagine life without them, 24% said they hated how their phones made them available 24/7.
Fifteen percent of Americans also complained that they´re paying too much to own a cell phone while 12% (likely AT&T customers) complained of poor signals and dropped calls. Another 8% said they were most annoyed by their phone´s poor battery life.
While these relationships we have with our phones might be slightly dysfunctional, the majority of Americans said they generally felt good about having these devices in their lives.
For instance, 65% agreed that their cell phones helped them keep in touch with those they love. Twenty-eight percent said they liked being able to plan and carry out their daily routines, while 26% said they appreciated being able to be productive while standing in lines or sitting in traffic.
Dysfunctional and strained as our relationship might be, it´s ours, and if this survey is any indicator, we like it just the way it is.