Study: America's fascination with the cell phone

By on August 16, 2011, 6:00 PM

The latest mobile phone study affirms just how dependent many Americans are on their cell phones. Nearly 50 percent of young adults reported having trouble doing something because they did not have their phone nearby and 20 percent of all surveyed experienced frustration because their phone took too long to download something. The new findings come courtesy of Pew Internet & American Life Project and reveal a lot information about the average phone owner.

83 percent of Americans own some form of mobile phone and more than 50 percent of those have used a phone in the last month to retrieve information on the spot.

Remember that time you pretended to place or receive a phone call to avoid talking with someone nearby? Well you aren’t alone, as 13 percent of respondents have done the same thing.

70 percent of young adults between the age of 18 and 29 have used a phone for entertainment while they were bored.

Aside from entertainment and convenience, handsets can be a valuable tool during an emergency. 40 percent of everyone questioned said they found themselves in an emergency situation where having their phone was useful.

Data for the study was obtained via phone interviews of 2,277 adults over the age of 18. Calls were conducted between April 26 and May 22 2011. This is likely the same phone interview that was used to determine Internet activities of adults earlier this month which revealed that search and email remain the top online activities in the US.

It’s unfortunate that the survey didn’t poll people under the age of 18 as it would be interesting to see how younger teenagers would skew the results.




User Comments: 26

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

I don't have a cell phone. I got rid of it over a year ago. Sometimes I want to get away from people, if I have a cell phone I can't. I got a home phone people can reach me and leave messages if I'm away. Not like people ever contact me for anything so important it can't wait. Maybe I'm a little antisocial, so be it.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I feel a bit weird because;

1. I put my smartphone in 'flight mode'* after 8pm.

2. I never send text messages

3. I hardly ever take pictures let alone share them

4. Never recorded a video

5. Never bothered with banking

6. Or twitter for that matter

* I don't want anyone to intrude into my life too much, so if they want to talk about something important, they can always call me in the morning :p

Igneus the Bold said:

I don't have a cell phone. I got rid of it over a year ago. Sometimes I want to get away from people, if I have a cell phone I can't. I got a home phone people can reach me and leave messages if I'm away. Not like people ever contact me for anything so important it can't wait. Maybe I'm a little antisocial, so be it.

Ditto.

Cota Cota said:

Archean said:

I feel a bit weird because;

1. I put my smartphone in 'flight mode'* after 8pm.

2. I never send text messages

3. I hardly ever take pictures let alone share them

4. Never recorded a video

5. Never bothered with banking

6. Or twitter for that matter

* I don't want anyone to intrude into my life too much, so if they want to talk about something important, they can always call me in the morning :p

I luff you.

Even if people say im wrong, a cellphone basically only needs to be a cellphone (duh) and text messaging, all else is pure biblidy babidy who, since if today cellphones only did calls, the system in wich they work would be much less saturated whit useless info.

1977TA said:

I can say I do or have done all of those things on the list. Could I live with out my smartphone? Yes. When I want to be left alone I just put it on silent. They are far too convenient to have these days. Music, GPS, games, internet (porn), all in the palm of your hand :|

A lot people saying "texting" is not personal enough, but I beg to differ. My wife and I will text off and on throughout the day, we leave our talking when we see each other at home.....and watch porn on my smartphone.

aj_the_kidd said:

Since most smartphones embed some sort of twitter functionality into their phones, I thought the twitter usage would be allot higher for smartphone users, not that i have twitter but i thought pretty much everyone else did.

Other then that not really surprising information. Nice none the less

Guest said:

I don't have a cell phone. I got rid of it over a year ago. Sometimes I want to get away from people, if I have a cell phone I can't. I got a home phone people can reach me and leave messages if I'm away. Not like people ever contact me for anything so important it can't wait. Maybe I'm a little antisocial, so be it.

You do socialize on forums so that should count :P

Eddo22 said:

Igneus the Bold said:

I don't have a cell phone. I got rid of it over a year ago. Sometimes I want to get away from people, if I have a cell phone I can't. I got a home phone people can reach me and leave messages if I'm away. Not like people ever contact me for anything so important it can't wait. Maybe I'm a little antisocial, so be it.

Ditto.

X3. I rarely used my cell phone when I had it. I probably would have kept it if they would have given me a lower price, but all they would offer me is more minutes.

Igneus the Bold said:

X3. I rarely used my cell phone when I had it. I probably would have kept it if they would have given me a lower price, but all they would offer me is more minutes.

Cellular phones, paid television programs, and gaming consoles; three things I absolutely abhor, modernity being a large part of the equation.

Guest said:

wow so i guess no one uses there cell phone just for calls anymore? as there isn't even a column for it>

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

One day they will make a cell phone where you can talk into it and another person somewhere in the world can hear you and respond back.

p51d007 said:

My cell is my only phone. My boss pays 1/2 of it. From 8am to 5pm, I'll answer it, after 5pm, it is MY choice to answer or not answer it. If I don't feel like answering it, I don't, plain and simple. Sometimes I put it on silent, if I don't want to bother with it.

One thing that annoys me to no end is when you are in the local "7-11" type business, and standing in line and some ***** doesn't have the common courtesy to S-T-F-U for 2-3 minutes while they make a purchase. I sometimes wish places like this has a 25ft cell blocker around the cash register.

Guest said:

I have a cheap flip phone which happened after I broke my previous phone. Come August 29th when more info about the Samsung Galaxy S II is released, I will definitely upgrade.

I also plan on getting a Samsung Galaxy Prevail from Boost Mobile as my secondary phone.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

My cell phone is for sending and receiving calls and for texting my kids and that is it.

Sevrin said:

wow so i guess no one uses there cell phone just for calls anymore? as there isn't even a column for it>

This study is really funny.. I have a smartphone but I only use it for most of the stuff that are in there.. not for calling(or at least not that much..).. I don't like people to bother me when I'm working or watching a movie or something like that.. but in the morning on the way to work I like to check facebook stats or some news or something like that.. (until I get to work.. there I continue reading from my computer)

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Yup, I use my cellphone for every productive reason I can find, then plus entertainment.

RH00D RH00D said:

I am 18 and I have a basic cell phone that can strictly call, text, take pictures/video. But I don't even use it for video/pictures. I can't even send multimedia messages. Literally, messages with text only. I would say 75% of the use is texting and 25% is calling. The reason I text so much more is because I talk to people all over Canada and calling would be extremely expensive. I prefer to have a voice call, but if it is just a simple question I need to ask then I just text. No reason to majorly disrupt someone with a phone call when I just need a couple-word answer.

Believe it or not, there are teens that don't need or want a smartphone. Pretty shocking, I know. We're a rare breed these days.

Guest said:

I need the cell phone even to take a leak, I use the accelerometer/gyro + app to orientate my direction and aim, otherwise I pee all over the place.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Americans are simply addicted to running their mouths. They never say squat, just run their yaps pointlessly.

Meanwhile, they've convinced, (deluded themselves actually), into thinking that they're productive members of society.

This is because Obama prints them plenty of money to give to the carriers, and hypnotizes them into believing that spending money leads to prosperity.

I believe that it only leads to more debt and less money for essentials, hence I don't have one.

As you all know, I don't have a life, that's way you won't find me wasting it in an iPhone release day line.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Spending money which you actually have 'earned' not 'borrowed (using your credit cards or other means)' leads to prosperity as it keeps resources in circulation and benefiting society as a whole. But this small fact is usually ignored by the masses.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Spending money which you actually have 'earned' not 'borrowed (using your credit cards or other means)' leads to prosperity as it keeps resources in circulation and benefiting society as a whole. But this small fact is usually ignored by the masses.
No, it just sends your money to China, not matter if you're satisfied with the product, or how you earned it.

Moving on to the next fantasy, we'll tackle a "service based economy".

For example, six people stand in a circle and wipe the persons a** in front of them. This would be a service, would it not? Quick Barack, start the money presses, there's no product, raw materials dug up, food grown, or goods manufactured, just six ** holes in a circle.

The jobs report is in, and things are looking up in the service sector.

If you want to carry this a bit further, try envisioning how many jobs in the country are just flat out parasitic. Start with the US congress.

Even China wants to throttle our penchant for printing more currency when we need it.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

captaincranky said:

Even China wants to throttle our penchant for printing more currency when we need it.

I miss the days when Japan was our economic enemy. Things were so much simpler then...

Arris Arris said:

I use my smartphone for photos, internet, entertainment. Saying that I don't own a tablet or netbook so it's more my portable computer than phone. Hardly ever use it for more than a minute long phone call, and a few texts per month. Think internet access allowing smartphone users to message over Facebook and IM clients is reducing the amount of SMS messaging being used.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The problem doesn't lies with China, the underlying fact is US Govt. always opt for the easy solution which captain pointed out. Beside, anyone who lends money will always try to exert some 'controls / checks' to have their investment secured.

Guest said:

for me a cell phone its some kind of useless my reason:

1.-Its expensive paying for credit or monthly plans

2.-the SMS technology should be free, cuz the transmision to send the messages its totally automatic

3.-its not a laptop pc replacement

4.-its not a camera replacement

5.-not every internet plan its good and are expensive

6.-NOT every ppl know about using skype or internet with the cellphone instead of paying for credit to make calls

7.-There are a lot of ways to find me

8.-you will have your pockets full with the cellphone, with an mp3 player, and your wallet, coins, and maybe a camera

Benefits:

1.-YEs, its an mp3 player replacement

2.-you can have 1 single device

3.-yes i can pay for EXPENSIVE CALLS to my FRIENDS due to the cost per minute(this is bad)

Unless they have more power, like a medium pc you know icore3 or 1core5, and better battery, its useles to have the best of the best

Igneus the Bold said:

I think it is about time we became telepathic as a species. I really want to know what my dog is thinking. Probably something about bacon and how his butt itches, though not necessarily two relating issues, but I still want to know.

This would definitely alter the economy.

Arris Arris said:

Benefits:

1.-YEs, its an mp3 player replacement

2.-you can have 1 single device

3.-yes i can pay for EXPENSIVE CALLS to my FRIENDS due to the cost per minute(this is bad)

Unless they have more power, like a medium pc you know icore3 or 1core5, and better battery, its useles to have the best of the best

Battery technology or at least phone manufacturers adoption of newer/larger capacities is lagging behind the other technology. I have finally replaced my iPod with my phone, just put a 32Gb sd micro card in it and copied all my music to it. Sure it doesn't have the battery life of the iPod but it will get me through the day, and I'm charging it every other day anyway.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.