Survey finds phone users bored, needy and avoiding human contact

By Ryan Blundell on 18 Aug 2011 09:11 am EDT

Pew Internet Survey

The other day, Pew Internet published their findings from a national telephone survey they performed that involved nearly 2300 adults living in the United States. They asked the questions about their mobile habits from the past 30 days; ranging from messaging habits, to social networking, to types of downloads. They went as far as measuring results by age, ethnicity and type of phone (Smartphone vs. cell phone). Here are some of their key findings from the survey:

  • Cell phones are useful for quick information retrieval (so much so that their absence can cause problems) – Half of all adult cell owners (51%) had used their phone at least once to get information they needed right away. One quarter (27%) said that they experienced a situation in the previous month in which they had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone at hand.
  • Cell phones are an important tool in emergency situations – 40% of cell owners said they found themselves in an emergency situation in which having their phone with them helped.
  • Cell phones can help stave off boredom – 42% of cell owners used their phone for entertainment when they were bored.
  • Despite their advantages, some cell phone owners just need an occasional break – 29% of cell owners turned their phone off for a period of time just to get a break from using it.
  • With advantages comes frustration – 20% of cell owners experienced frustration because their phone was taking too long to download something; 16% had difficulty reading something on their phone because the screen was too small; and 10% had difficulty entering a lot of text on their phone.
  • Cell phones can help prevent unwanted personal interactions – 13% of cell owners pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them.

Snapping an image and SMS are at the top of the list for both Smartphone and cell phone owners, while the Smartphone users obviously dominate social networking and internet access. To be honest, I would have thought that more people would have admitted to pretending to be using their phone to avoid human contact. Who wants to interact face to face anymore right? How would you have responded to the questions in the survey?

Check out the full report from Pew Internet and American Life Project

Reader comments

Survey finds phone users bored, needy and avoiding human contact


I have a neighbor who is drunk most of the time, and likes to yell at us if we make eye contact. For some reason she thinks I hate her...can't imagine why. Anyway, if I pull in the driveway and she's sitting out in the yard I will whip out my BB before I get out of the car and make up one side of a business conversation to avoid having to deal with her. You just can't use logic with a drunk.
As a side note, I've had some really funny one sided conversations; my wife got mad at me the other day cause I almost made her bust out laughing at the "conversation" I was having with my Bold.

I say this survey is spot on. It seems so many are isolating themselves in public places--and a cell phone or a laptop is always the center of attraction. Board a rush hour commuter train in the morning and see if this isn't so.

So much the assertions that the camera isn't important to people with smartphones and they should buy a separate camera if it is important to them. Ninety-two percent use the camera, I think that says it all.

I never put my BB down. Its a real addiction. I need help. Never really used it to ignore somobody though. Luv having the ability to just go online and search stuff. And being able to go on crackberry while on the go is a plus.

This survey is garbage.
Apparently smartphone owners spend MORE time on their phones, because smartphones offer MORE things.