People check their smartphones 85 times a day (and they don't even know they're doing it)

People use their smartphones for an average of five hours a day – about a third of the time they are awake – and check them about 85 times a day, new research suggests.

The study found that people were checking their phones twice as often as they thought

People use their smartphones for an average of five hours a day – about a third of the time they are awake – and check them about 85 times a day, new research suggests.

Nottingham Trent University carried out an exploratory study to compare the amount of time participants estimated they spent on their smartphones, with their actual usage.

The work, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that people were accessing their phones twice as often as they thought.

The researchers argue that 'rapid mobile phone interactions' are becoming habitual for smartphone users.

This is the first study to objectively demonstrate that some of our mobile phone interactions are habitual.

Dr Sally Andrews, Nottingham Trent University

The study, which also involved Lancaster University, the University of Lincoln and University of the West of England, saw 23 participants, aged 18-33, asked to estimate how much time they had spent on their phone.

An app was also installed on their smartphones which recorded all their actual usage over a two week period. This included activities like checking the time, looking at message notifications or social media alerts, phone calls and playing music.

Researchers also found that smartphone use was typically confined to short bursts – more than half of uses lasted less than 30 seconds.

Dr Sally Andrews, a psychologist in Nottingham Trent University's School of Social Sciences, said: "Our study has shed light on some important details in relation to people's phone-checking behaviour.

People have very little awareness of the frequency with which they check their phone. This is the first study to objectively demonstrate that some of our mobile phone interactions are habitual."

"It is important to note, however, that heavy users are not necessarily the same as problem users."

Dr David Ellis, a psychologist at Lancaster University, said: "Psychologists typically rely on self-report data when quantifying mobile phone usage in studies, but our work suggests that estimated smartphone use should be interpreted with caution."

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People check their smartphones 85 times a day (and they don't even know they're doing it)

Published on 2 November 2015
  • Category(s): Press office; Research ; School of Social Sciences

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