Wednesday 23 August 2017

It's official: we are addicted to using our smartphones

If you’re looking at your phone then you’re more likely to walk into a lamppost, trip over your feet or have a more serious accident.
If you’re looking at your phone then you’re more likely to walk into a lamppost, trip over your feet or have a more serious accident.
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Irish people are among the biggest phone addicts in the world, according to new global statistics.

The figures, from web firm Statcounter, show that we use our phones to access the internet more than any other country in Europe or the Americas as the lure of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat draws us in deeper.

Our propensity to stare at our small screens on buses, cafés and in our bedrooms has more than doubled over the past 18 months.

The proportion of web traffic on phones in Ireland is almost a third higher than the European average, a quarter higher than in the UK and over 10pc higher than in the US. It is even higher than mobile-mad Finland, home of Nokia and birthplace of smartphones.

Only a handful of Asian and African countries, which have limited access to computers or tablet alternatives, rely on mobiles more than Irish people, the research shows.

The figures are backed up by separate statistics from the Irish telecoms regulator, which recently reported that mobile internet data usage is doubling in Ireland.

And other data from Ipsos MRBI shows that over half of us use social media every day, most of which occurs on phone apps as opposed to websites. As many as two-thirds of Irish people have active Facebook accounts, with three-quarters of them checking in every day.

Dominant

No country in the West is ditching PCs for phones as fast as Ireland. The research shows that at least a third of all our internet usage now happens on smartphones.

Two years ago, just 15pc of our web time occurred on our phones. That has more than doubled as people turn away from booting up laptops or PCs to use their phones. The figures may even understate how dominant phones are becoming, as they do not track app activity but only measure our use of internet websites on our phones.

And the research shows that the migration from PCs to phones will continue for the foreseeable future. Statcounter's figures for Ireland show that lots of people still access the web on phones with small screens.

When those phone owners upgrade to larger-screen models that manufacturers are switching to, the research shows that they will be less inclined to boot up their laptop or tablet when they want to casually access social media or the internet.

The research indicates that phones will overtake PCs as our main internet machines in 2016. However, there has been no significant increase in tablet usage here, with just 11pc of internet traffic in Ireland happening on tablets.

Bigger phones and cheaper, faster mobile data services here are behind the emerging phone addiction, figures show.

Irish Independent

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