Is Our Mobile Dependence Actually A Bad Thing? Here's the Research
It doesn't take much to notice that cell phones are everywhere, and used for everything. But is our mobile dependence actually a bad thing?
Everything I need to make it through my day - from boarding passes to spreadsheets, entertainment to communication - fits in my pocket. What's more useful than that?
Smart phones have become a staple, because they place the best technology in the palms of our hands 24/7.
Recent Research on Mobile Dependence
Earlier this year, Pew Research Center released its latest findings on smartphone usage in the U.S. Not surprisingly, we use our phones a lot more now than when they conducted their last study in 2011.
95% of of U.S. adults own a cell phone, and that 77% own a smartphone specifically.
With the need to continually find better ways to do more, our mobile dependence makes perfect sense. Phones are able to replace and improve a lot of tasks at home and the office.
Pew also found that 67% of adult cell phone owners check their devices without first getting a notification. Some call this a compulsive disorder, but research suggests that true mobile dependence isn't even an issue for most Americans.
PC: Pew Research Center
While some look at our heavy mobile usage as dependence, addiction, or an annoying fad, the research more closely describes a cultural shift. And checking your phone is more a subtle tick, like scratching your nose or biting your lip.
For instance, 97% of American adult smartphone owners text regularly. Why? Because texting is often more convenient.
About 90% of all smartphone owners also use the device for internet access, and for checking email. Why? Because it's a better experience than going to your computer every time you have a question or need to send a message.
We can call this mobile dependence, or acclimation to new technology, or anything else. But is it a good thing, or is it a bad thing?
A Quick Example
I had the privilege of attending 2015's Masters Par 3 Tournament at Augusta National, where cell phones aren't allowed. Throughout the day, our group of six made several comments about how odd it was not to have our phones on us.
Every time we had a question, we recited the day's anthem:
"Just Google it...
But mobile devices aren't just used for quickly answering questions. They've become critical to the routines of professionals everywhere and to driving business growth.
Mobile Dependence Isn't An American Issue
Interestingly, cell phones have become a staple throughout the world. In fact, 48 million people in developing countries have a cell phone, but don't even have running electricity!
1.7 billion people have cell phones, but no bank account! And with 4.2 billion people in the world who use their phones to text, texting is easily the most used data service in the world.
This hasn't happened because of one American addiction. Actually, less developed countries are more mobile dependent than we are, because so many other technologies aren't available.
All of this has happened because mobile phone technology - just like the automobile and indoor plumbing - makes life easier.
So, Is Our Mobile Dependence Actually a Bad Thing?
Cell phones provide more accessibility to more people looking for answers to questions, or who want to further their social lives, grow their businesses, or experience more of what the world has to offer.
Our mobile dependence isn't a bad thing.
We should be excited to live through the new opportunities this technology provides for billions! More people can access the internet, communicate where they couldn't before, and collaborate from anywhere.