Americans are insanely addicted to their phones


iPhone Hold
Check Facebook in the bathroom? That doesn't make you weird, just an average American. But maybe we all have phone addiction.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

We really love our phones. Maybe too much. 10 percent of respondents to a recent survey have checked their phone during sex. Almost a quarter (22 percent) can’t make it through a shower without a look. But Apple is trying to help.

The survey also took a quick look at American’s attitudes toward 5G. Even though this ultra-fast cellular wireless network technology is going to start rolling out later this year, 44% of U.S. adults have never heard of it.

The poll, conducted by SurveyMoney by SureCall, found that — to no one’s surprise — the younger someone is, the more likely they are to be dependent on the phone. For example, 85 percent of adults under the age of 35 check their phone on the toilet. But the non-millennials shouldn’t feel too smug: over half of those 52 to 70 do so.

The phone is always with us

Cellphone separation anxiety is a real thing. The survey found that 27 percent of respondents “admit to some level of fear/anxiety when they are caught without their phones.” And it’s possible some of the rest don’t say they’ve had similar symptoms because they’re never without their handset, as almost three-quarters of respondents sleep with it on or near their bed.

Phones are nigh ubiquitous. Pew Research recently found that 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone, and 77 percent own a smartphone.

And we’ve become more dependent on them in another way: one-in-five American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users, which means they don’t have any other form of internet access in their home.

Apple combating phone addiction

Apple is aware of the phone-addiction problem. Its answer is the Screen Time app coming in iOS 12. Not only with this tell you how much time you spend using each app on your iPhone or iPad, it will let you set limits. Wasting too much time on Facebook? Limit yourself to an hour a day.

And it works across all of your devices. If you use up your allowance on your iPhone, you can’t switch to your iPad.

Obviously, Screen Time’s limits are voluntary for adults. Still, getting a warning that you’ve played Fortnite for two hours today is a handy reminder that you should maybe get back to the real world.


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