How we use our smartphones twice as much as we think

October 30, 2015, Lancaster University
Credit: Peter Griffin/Public Domain

People use their smartphones for an average of five hours a day – about a third of the time they are awake – and check the about 85 times a day, research suggests.

The study in the journal PLOS ONE compared the amount of time participants estimated they spent on their smartphones with their actual usage.

It found that people were accessing their phones twice as often as they thought.

Dr David Ellis, a psychologist at Lancaster University, said: "Psychologists typically rely on self-report data when quantifying in studies, but our work suggests that estimated use should be interpreted with caution."

The researchers argue that 'rapid mobile phone interactions' are becoming habitual for smartphone users. They asked 23 participants, aged 18-33, asked to estimate how much time they had spent on their phone.

An app was also installed on their smartphones which recorded all their actual usage over a two week period. This included activities like checking the time, looking at or social media alerts, and playing music.

Researchers found that smartphone use was typically confined to short bursts – more than half of uses lasted less than 30 seconds.

The study was led by Lancaster University with Nottingham Trent, the University of Lincoln and University of the West of England.

Explore further: Your mobile phone knows where you go and what you do – and maybe even when you're feeling down

More information: Sally Andrews et al. Beyond Self-Report: Tools to Compare Estimated and Real-World Smartphone Use, PLOS ONE (2015). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139004

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not rated yet Oct 31, 2015
I smoke. Now I am taking smoke breaks more often because my buddies are taking phone breaks every time their widget goes PING in their pocket, as one or more girlfriends who poke their phones all day at work carry on mostly pointless running conversations. Then when one goes PING and stops work there seems to be an unspoken signal and the others take their phones out of pocket whether they PING or not and diddle for awhile. Before I reach 3 packs a day I'll be dead and they'll be able to just stand around and poke their phones all day.
not rated yet Oct 31, 2015
"People use their smartphones for an average of five hours a day – about a third of the time they are awake – and check the about 85 times a day, research suggests."

"They asked 23 participants, aged 18-33, asked to estimate how much time they had spent on their phone."

This not a study - or at least a competent one. Absurdly too small of sample, and to limited of a demographic. Too little communication information - type, impact, priority, replace-ability/criticality of smart phone use/communication. The study is essentially meaningless from a data application standpoint. Basically, it says the most smartphone usage at under 30 seconds is checking time or weather, has little to no value to marketers, and that 18-33 old's have next to no real social and communication habits, real needs and or critical thinking skills and are paranoid regarding what social relationships they have.

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