Most people in the UK are dependent on their smartphones, according to new research by Ofcom.
Ofcom’s Communications Market Report reveals that 78 percent of people now own a smartphone, compared with 17 percent of people a decade ago. Almost all (95 percent) of 16-24 year-olds own a smartphone.
People admit to checking their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day. Two in five adults (40 percent) first look at their phone within five minutes of waking up, climbing to 65 percent of under-35s. At night, 37 percent of adults check their phones five minutes before going to sleep, increasing to 60 percent for under-35s.
“Over the last decade, people’s lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the internet and new services,” said Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence. “Whether it’s working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before. But while people appreciate their smartphone as their constant companion, some are finding themselves feeling overloaded when online, or frustrated when they’re not.”
The research reveals that the amount of time people spend making phone calls from their mobiles has fallen for the first time, as they increasingly use internet-based services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Using a mobile for phone calls is only considered important by 75 percent of smartphone users, compared to 92 percent who consider web browsing to be important.
Commenting on the report, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “In our modern world it may seem unsurprising that people can’t go 12 minutes without using their smartphone, but this ‘addiction’ can have deadly consequences if people can’t leave their phones alone whilst driving. A split-second distraction caused by a call, text or notification behind the wheel can be fatal. In 2016, 32 people were killed and 105 seriously injured in crashes involving a driver being distracted by their mobile phone, and this problem is getting worse year-on-year.”