Smartphone addiction statistics of adults and teenagers

Here’s a future prediction for you: you’ll check your smartphone (again) in the next 12 minutes. Did you know that the average smartphone user can’t go for 1 hour without checking their smartphone? Young people aged 18 to 21 are usually checking their mobile phones once every 9 minutes.

Read further to find out the most eye-opening smartphone addiction statistics, how mobile addiction impacts your personal life, plus pieces of advice on how to stop being addicted to your phone.

Smartphone addiction statistics - couple uses phones and doesn't communicate

What is cell phone addiction?

Mobile phone addiction is similar in manifestation to drug addiction. It is a psychological dependence on portable devices, especially smartphones. Mobiles have become indispensable for daily life matters. More than half of the world owns a smartphone. Some of these people can live in serious distress when they do not have their phone with them or nearby, and they are the so-called nomophobes.

Nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia) is a person’s fear or discomfort when they do not have their phone in reach. Nomophobia is a light addiction, where the person can’t see themselves going about their day without the commodities their smartphone provides.

Why are people glued to phones, though? Because they offer access to apps and platforms that create a brain activity similar to being on drugs. In other words, spending hours on specific apps, checking notifications, or socializing online make your brain feel rewarded, safe, stimulated, and excited.

6 signs of someone addicted to their phone

To check if you or someone close to you has a smartphone addiction or nomophobia, pay attention to the following signs.

Physical signs of phone addiction

  1. Text Neck – this is a common term used to describe cervical ailments provoked by spending long hours leaning your head forward to look at the phone. It involves a series of symptoms like stiff muscles in the cervical region, pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. For people who are using their smartphones for a prolonged time, the shoulders may get a rounded shape, and the head will have a forward position by default. The neck has reduced mobility, and flexion inflicts pain. Text neck can cause repetitive headaches and tension in the cervical and upper back region.

  2. Dried, itchy eyes – eyes are suffering a great amount of stress while dealing with digital screens. When you are looking at your phone for more than 5 hours a day, your eyes can become dry, itchy, photosensitive, and have a continuous sandy sensation in your eyes. These are symptoms of dried eye syndrome, which usually affects people working with digital screens without protecting lenses.

  3. Sleep problems, insomnia – using your smartphone for prolonged periods of time, especially within 2 hours before sleeping, affects your sleep quality and your brain’s ability to shut down and restart during the night. Smartphone usage is stimulating for your brain, and it prevents proper relaxation and rest. Being addicted to your smartphone can cause insomnia by losing track of time while browsing the internet and using certain apps.

Behavioral signs of phone addiction 

  1. Losing track of time while using the phone – smartphone addiction weakens your contact with reality. It can cause you to lose track of time while checking your apps, ignoring alarms, and not being able to stop using your phone even in dangerous or prohibited contexts, like driving. This is why, without any regulation, a person with a phone obsession can spend an incredible amount of time of their day glued to their phone and devices.

  2. Preferring cell phone interaction to personal contact – socializing through smartphones provides a comfortable way of sharing messages and information, making it the first choice for smartphone addicts. Teens and adults who are addicted to phone socializing feel the urge to immediately respond to messages, regardless of what they are doing, are constantly checking notifications, and feel left out or disconnected from their peers when they cannot be present online.

  3. Anxiety and irritability when unable to use a phone – not having your phone raises certain discomfort in any person, but for those dealing with phone addiction not having access to their phone results in high stress, generalized anxiety, FOMO (fear-of-missing-out), and mood alteration. People who are excessively using their smartphones may feel disconnected from their surroundings, become disoriented and irritable.

Statistics on general cell phone usage

90% of the world’s population owns a cell phone. Almost every person in the world has a mobile device with at least a simple OS and basic functions. When it comes to more complex and performant devices, 81% of the world’s population owns a smartphone. These percentages involve data from both developed and developing countries, showing that smartphones have become a daily tool even for people struggling financially.

People use their phones constantly during the day from social media browsing, internet shopping, or digital games. 54% of young adults check their phones multiple times per hour.

According to smartphone usage statistics, young adults (18-24 y.o) get to check their phones 150 times a day or once every 6 minutes.

In the last few years, the age people get their own smartphones has decreased significantly. 53% of teens in the UK own a mobile phone by the age of 7.

By the time they are 11 years old, 90% of UK kids own a mobile phone, and the private use of it becomes universal, The Guardian says.

After getting their own smartphone, people spend 4 hours and 23 minutes per day on mobile devices. Researchers expect this amount of time to grow to 4 hours and 35 minutes per day by 2023.

Horrifying smartphone addiction statistics and facts

These numbers are talking by themselves. Our smartphone usage habits can be serious red flags.

  • 7 out of 10 teens keep their smartphones in bed with them at night, and 54% of them wake up to check notifications. These data are enough to signal a phone obsession, especially if a person is consciously skipping sleep to use smartphone apps.  Moreover, 70% of teens and 61% of parents use their phones within 30 minutes before sleeping.

  • 56.4% of American users consider themselves somewhat addicted to their phones. This finding implies awareness of their unhealthy usage of smartphones but no success in reducing or changing it. 19% of respondents consider themselves very addicted to phones, but they are not currently looking for professional help.

  • 60% of college students in the U.S. view themselves as addicted to their smartphones. Regardless of academic needs to use the device, the usage involves social media browsing, playing games, watching videos, and using apps.

Teenage cell phone addiction: when should parents worry?

The statistics below will give you an image of teen smartphone usage in numbers.

7 hours and 22 minutes a day are spent by teens on their phones. These data are not implying school-related usage of the phone, and it is valid for teens older than 12 years of age. For young teens aged 8 to 12, the average screen time is 4 hours and 44 minutes.

110 texts per day are exchanged by Americans aged 15 to 24, according to statistics. For teens, texting is a form of social contact, but addicted teens may display withdrawal signs. 72% of parents feel that their teens are distracted when they are together and that they are not paying attention to their interaction, a study finds.

How to stop being addicted to your phone?

In order to control your smartphone addiction or take action for your teen, you can try several methods.

Limit access to your device

To avoid checking your phone every now and then, charge your phone in another room or at a certain distance from you. It may be for a few minutes a day, but it is a great service that you can do for your body and mind.

Use control apps on your smartphone

If limiting access to your device is not an option for you, you can use certain apps that can help you reduce screen time. For example, for children and teens, you can use a parental control app. How does it help? It blocks certain sites on the target smartphone, blocks apps, locks the smartphone, and can track all online activities on your kid’s device.

See an addiction specialist

If cell phone addiction is of a more serious nature, you can search for professional help. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and MI (Motivational Interviewing) are scientifically proven approaches that can give you optimal results in a fair amount of time.

Smartphone addiction statistics: keep in mind

What may seem harmless fun may transform into a dangerous addiction over time, especially for those experiencing emotional and social burdens. Smartphones are a great tool for an easier life, but spending more than 2-3 hours using them for non-utilitarian purposes can affect your health, mood, and relations. If you feel addicted to your smartphone, it’s best to limit your access to it, install a control app or seek professional help.   

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