Smartphone users turning into badly behaved addicts
Published 04/08/2011 | 05:00
THE BlackBerry has been jokingly referred to as the "CrackBerry" for some time -- now new evidence has emerged of how smartphone "addiction" is affecting the way we behave.
Research for Ofcom, the UK's industry and regulation body, has shown more than a third of adults and a majority of teenagers classify themselves as highly addicted to their smartphone, including devices such as the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones.
Smartphone owners are more likely to have their phones switched on 24 hours a day and are more inclined to flout requests to switch the devices off in cinemas and theatres than regular mobile phone users, the report for the communications regulator found.
Users make significantly more calls and send more text messages than regular mobile phone owners, and they also report cutting back on activities such as reading books and newspapers and watching TV since buying a smartphone.
Owners of the devices are more likely to use their phones during social occasions, at mealtimes and even in the bathroom and toilet, according to the Ofcom communications market report 2011.
The report also found evidence of smartphones blurring the divide between work and holidays with nearly a third, or 30pc, of smartphone owners regularly taking personal calls during working hours.
Leisure time was also affected, with 24pc of smartphone owners regularly taking part in work-related phone calls on holiday, rising to 29pc who accessed work emails.
A total of 18pc of adult smartphone users said they had used their phone in a venue such as a cinema or theatre where they had been asked to switch it off, compared to 10pc of regular mobile phone users.
The findings, from face-to-face interviews with 2,073 adults, and an online survey of 521 people aged from 12 to 15 years old, comes amid an explosion in smartphone ownership in the UK during the past 12 months.
More than a quarter of British adults, or 27pc, are smartphone users, representing an estimated 12 million users, according to the Ofcom report.
Smartphone ownership among younger teenagers is much higher, according to the regulator, with almost half of 12 to 15-year-olds, or 47pc, owning one.
Most, 59pc, had acquired their smartphone over the past year, Ofcom said.