Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Smartphone 'addiction' inflicts UK

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 in Britain.

Research for Ofcom 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 30%, of smartphone owners regularly taking personal calls during working hours.

More than a third of adults with a smartphone, 37%, classified themselves as having a "high addiction" to their device compared to 12% of regular adult mobile phone users.

The findings from face-to-face interviews with 2,073 adults and an online survey of 521 12 to 15-year-olds conducted in March comes amid an explosion in smartphone ownership in the UK during the past 12 months.

More than a quarter of British adults, or 27%, are smartphone users, representing an estimated 12 million users, according to the Ofcom report.

The Apple iPhone is the most popular brand overall, Ofcom said, but BlackBerry handsets are the most popular choice among younger consumers, according to Ofcom.

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