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In the bathroom and at the dinner table
The rapid growth in the use of smartphones – which offer internet access, email and a variety of internet-based applications – is changing the way many of us, particularly teenagers, act in social situations.
The vast majority of smartphone users (81 per cent) have their mobile switched on all of the time, even when they are in bed, with four in ten adults (38 per cent) and teens (40 per cent) admitting using their smartphone after it woke them.
Over half (51 per cent) of adults and two thirds (65 per cent) of teenagers say they have used their smartphone while socialising with others, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of adults and a third (34 per cent) of teenagers have used them during mealtimes and over a fifth (22 per cent) of adult and nearly half (47 per cent) of teenage smartphone users admitted using or answering their handset in the bathroom or toilet.
Teenagers are also more likely to use their smartphone in places they’ve been asked to switch their phone off such as the cinema or library – with 27 per cent admitting doing so, compared with 18 per cent of adults.
Ofcom’s research found that the line between work and social time is also becoming increasingly blurred. Thirty per cent of smartphone users say they regularly take part in personal phone calls during working hours, compared with 23 per cent of regular mobile phone users. However, smartphone users are more likely to take part in work calls while on holiday or annual leave. Seventy per cent say they have ever done so, with a quarter (24 per cent) admitting to doing so regularly, compared with just 16 per cent of ordinary mobile phone users.
The research also looked at the popularity of applications, or ‘apps’, among smartphone users and found that just under half (47 per cent) of adult smartphone users have downloaded an app – with many people taking advantage of the availability of free apps.
Teenage smartphone owners are more likely to have paid for an app download (38 per cent) than adult owners, amongst whom just a quarter (25 per cent) had paid for an app.
Teenagers are most likely to part with their pocket money for games, with a third (32 per cent) having paid for at least one game. Music is the next most popular genre amongst teens with 22 per cent having paid for a music-based app.
Adults are also most likely to pay for games (15 per cent) and music (8 per cent) apps, with maps/ navigation following close behind (7 per cent).