A new Pew Research Center study released this week revels some fascinating statistics about U.S. adults and their cell phones.
Of note, but not surprising, is the fact that 64% of adults now own a smartphone – basically everyone under the age of 80 who can afford one.
What caught our eye is the statistics around millennial users (18 – 29 years old). Parents of teens probably agree that if younger users were surveyed, the results would be even more striking.
Not only are young users more dependent on their smartphones, but three behaviors cited by the research were far more prevalent in young adults than in older ones – using a smartphone to avoid boredom, using a smartphone to avoid actual conversation and using a smartphone for directions.
- Avoiding boredom – This category is probably poorly defined. Much of the time it’s not about boredom; your phone is where everything is. People and conversation, games, news, pictures – much of what older adults still consume in analog form.
- Avoiding actual conversation – This one is slightly troublesome, but I’ll admit that I’ve done it. When making eye contact could lead to an awkward conversation, looking down at your phone is a near-perfect move.
- Using a smartphone for directions – This one is just plain good. When I first got my driver’s license, I was lost all the time. When I first worked in New York City, I never knew which subway to take. Those problems are things of the past.
Even if your teen’s smartphone is in your teen’s hand all the time, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as interests are balanced. Avoiding some contact is okay, but kids do still need to be able to hold a conversation. Make sure to stay on top of that.
In the Pew research are also some not-so-headline-worthy tidbits: more than 40% of smartphone users also look up info about healthcare of job opportunities and almost 20% have used a smartphone to apply for a job! Things are different these days, and that’s mostly okay.
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