Can you live without your phone? Yes. My phone doesn’t rule me. That is what everyone claims. However, our reality is quite different.
There is no doubt that ever since 2007, when the iPhone came into existence, mobile devices slowly became an essential part of our daily lives. Eyes remained glued to screens as attention spans dropped.
If this trend continues, we’ll soon become one with our phones. You don’t have to look at smartphone addiction statistics for confirmation. You can just look around.
These devices allow us unlimited access to information, and communication today is easier than ever. Nevertheless, if you want to get a better understanding of how the tech revolution affects our behavior and minds, read on.
Top Facts and Stats on Smartphone Addiction (Editor’s Pick)
- There are 3.8 billion smartphone users in the world.
- There are 8 billion mobile connections in the world.
- 33% of teens socialize more online than face-to-face.
- People spend 3 hours and 13 minutes on their phones every day.
- The US has a smartphone penetration of 81%.
- 60% of Americans ages 18 to 34 admit to smartphone overuse.
- 41% of teens feel overwhelmed by mobile notifications.
- 43% of workers turn off their phones during work.
General Phone Addiction Statistics
We’ll kick things off with some of the most important stats about general phone use and overuse around the globe.
1. There are 3.8 billion smartphone users in 2021.
That is almost half of the world’s population. If we want to be precise about it, 44.98% of people use a smartphone. This number represents a billion new users compared to 2016. The rate of use is increasing by 300 million users per year. It used to be 200 million per year, but it went up to 300 million in 2018. This rate has remained steady for the past two years, and we expect the overall number to keep rising.
So, are phones addictive? Everyone is using them, and those that aren’t are likely to soon start.
2. The number of mobile devices is forecast to reach 16.8 billion in 2023.
If we go by cell phone addiction statistics in 2020, we can see that the number of devices in circulation was 14.02 billion. You may think that this is indicative of a trend of people upgrading their phones. Nevertheless, despite the constant rise of this number, the actual units shipped per year were down 4.9% in 2019. Many hope that the arrival of more affordable 5G handsets and services may spark growth in markets where the refresh cycle is stagnant.
3. There are 8 billion mobile connections in the world.
When you look at these smartphone usage statistics, it becomes obvious why cellphone addiction has become a talking point. Today, most people have more than one phone. Work requires a work phone with its mobile connection, and if you think 8 billion is a lot, know that forecasts say that this number will increase by 0.5 billion in 2023.
In 2019, 4G was the dominant technology with over 4 billion connections or 52% of all mobile connections. The number of 4G connections will grow in the next few years, peaking at 60% in 2023. Meanwhile, 5G is on the rise. By 2025, it will account for 20% of all connections.
4. 70% of the population will subscribe to mobile services by 2025.
If two-thirds of the global population subscribe to mobile services, we’re on target to hit 90% in about a decade, according to the current rates shown by cell phone statistics. Adding new subscribers is becoming more difficult as markets are becoming saturated. Nevertheless, experts say that most of the new subscribers will come from India, China, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
Children and Teenage Cell Phone Addiction Statistics for 2020
If mobile technology is spreading like wildfire and has given birth to this novel disorder, does it affect our youth?
5. 44% of children and teenagers had been spending more than four hours a day on devices since the pandemic started, according to screen time statistics for 2020.
The amount of time spent on devices more than doubled compared to pre-pandemic stats, when the percentage equaled 21%. When it comes to the youngest, cell phone addiction statistics for 2020 paint a concerning picture: 26% of children up to four years of age spent more than four hours a day on a device since the pandemic started.
6. 17% of parents of a child under 12 say their child has their own smartphone.
(Pew Research Center)
Cell phone usage statistics by age show that out of children who owned a smartphone before the age of 11, 60% started using it before their fifth birthday. In fact, 31% started using a smartphone before the age of two. The most commonly named reason (78%) for letting children own a smartphone before the age of 12 was to make it easier for parents to contact them.
7. Four out of five teenagers keep their devices in their rooms overnight.
According to cell phone addiction studies, a third of teens that keep their phones in their room, also bring them to bed. What’s even more interesting is that their parents are no better. They’re part of the problem and have influenced this behavior. More than 83% of them keep their phones in their bedrooms at night, and 12% of them keep them close by in bed. These percentages come from a study that polled 1,000 children and parents, which also found that smartphones cause conflicts at home between parents and children.
8. 47% of parents believe that their children suffer from cell phone addiction.
Parents say that they’ve witnessed the effects first-hand and that they have difficulty prying their kid’s phones away from them. However, most parents are honest about their use. Going by the latest cell phone addiction statistics, 32% of them admit that they have difficulty putting the devices down. They consider themselves phone addicts too, and believe they’ve negatively affected their children concerning their smartphone use. 67% of teachers say that mobile devices distract their students, and close to 90% of parents take responsibility for this occurrence.
9. 33% of teens socialize more online than face-to-face.
The good news is that 69% of teens wish they could spend more time socializing face-to-face with close friends, according to smartphone addiction statistics. Furthermore, more than half of them do not check their phones when they’re spending extended periods of sitting together with others. It proves that they yearn for real-life socialization, which is encouraging.
10. 60% of teens think their friends suffer from this addiction.
More than half of young people believe their classmates, friends, and acquaintances, contribute to phone addiction statistics. The percentage differs from study to study, but fluctuates between 50% to 60%, in most. Kids aren’t dumb— 71% of them are aware that companies design apps that keep them staring at screens. Many psychologists agree that addiction to tech devices is more serious for young people. Teens are not ignorant; they identify the problem in themselves and their peers.
11. 41% of teens feel overwhelmed by the number of daily notifications.
Modern technology makes kids feel anxious and fearful. 42% of them worry about potential online gossip and how it may affect their social life. Which is why 68% are attempting to reduce the amount of time they spend on their phones. 37% of them are trying to persuade a friend to do the same. Almost half of all teens believe that their phones are an obstacle to getting good grades in school and that they cause unnecessary anxiety.
If you don’t know what the term means, here’s a quick explanation. Nomophobia is the fear of not having your phone, one that persists and affects your daily life. To illustrate that this condition does exist, we’ve collected some smartphone dependency statistics to back it up.
12. On average, people spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones.
Going by phone addiction statistics, people use almost a quarter of their awake time on a smartphone. That’s just the average, with the top 20% of users spending more than 4.5 hours on their mobile devices. What’s interesting is that most users spend more time on their phones during the working week than on weekends. Watching videos and using social networks dominate the time spent on a smartphone. So keep this in mind next time you’re wondering – can you get addicted to your phone?
13. Nearly 80% of users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up.
According to psychologists, checking your phone early, will increase stress and leave you overwhelmed. Close to 90% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 check their phones in the first 15 minutes of the day, according to smartphone addiction facts. 74% of them reach for their phone as soon as they wake up.
14. 28% of American adults use their smartphones during breakfast.
People cannot even put their phones down while they are putting food in their mouths. Many experts claim that by checking your phone in the morning, you play the comparison game with other people, which limits your potential. Nevertheless, this is the driving force as to why people perform this action so early in the day, nomophobia statistics indicate. They want to be up to date with current events and other people’s lives. Additionally, 7% of people said that the first time they use their phones is on their way to work, while 6% said it was once they were there.
15. Some people check their phones 96 times a day.
What does that mean—how often do people check their phones? Believe it or not, some people check their phone once every ten minutes! That is a 20% daily increase compared to 2018.
Some 18 to 24-year-olds use their phones twice as much as other age groups, and they know it. Their smartphone usage in the US is staggering, but surveys show that many of them are trying to curb their addiction. Most users, regardless of gender or age, list staying in touch with friends and family as the number one reason they use their phones. They also mention texting/chatting as their number one activity.
Smartphone Addiction Statistics in the US
Americans today are increasingly more connected to the world of digital information. Consequently, their numbers are way up in terms of nomophobia statistics and cell phone usage.
16. 67% of US adults considered smartphone addiction an issue in 2020.
This is a significant decrease compared to 81% of people who said the same in 2018. Due to the lockdown, people spent more time on their devices, and had fewer entertainment choices, which reflects in this change of attitude.
17. Cell phone addiction statistics for 2020 show a one-hour increase in screen time for US adults.
Adults in the US spent 7 hours and 50 minutes per day consuming digital media, compared to 6 hours and 49 minutes in 2019. Almost half of this time was spent on smartphones, exceeding three hours of screen time for the first time.
18. The US has a smartphone penetration of 81%.
(Pew Research Center)
In 2010, it was 20.2%. The reason for the rise is availability, low prices, and product diversity. The US population totals 329.1 million people, and 260.2 million of them are smartphone users. Only Germany and the UK have better penetration, with 79.9% and 82.9% respectively. China remains in the lead with 851.2 million smartphone users.
What sets the US apart from these other countries is that it not only has a high smartphone penetration, but its users spend more time on their phones compared to the global average.
19. Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most cell phone dependent.
(Pew Research Center)
98% of people in this age range have a phone according to phone addiction statistics. Naturally, young adults are the ones most in touch with technology. Young men are slightly more likely to become phone addicts than women, and education and income levels play a role as well. For people in the lower-income and lower education level category, the smartphone addiction percentage is likely to be higher. People over 65 are the least cell phone dependent, but their percentage is climbing, while that for 18 to 29-year-olds is declining.
20. 45% of American children aged 10 to 12 have a smartphone.
With a service plan, no less. The predominant age a child gets a service plan in the US is age 10, with 22% of children getting one at this age. Around 16% of 8-year-olds get a service plan. When it comes to demographics on young service plan users — 56% are boys and 44% girls. Most children, or 93%, have the same plan as their parents, and 72% have all wireless services. Parents say the main reason for getting their children a phone with wireless services is so they can track their location.
21. 32.7% of Americans spend more time on their phones than with their partner.
Perhaps, more interesting is the fact that 57.4% of Americans feel compelled to use their phone while on dates, and 45% of them would rather give up sex for a year than their phone. Many Americans are so addicted to these devices that they will forego human contact for the dopamine fix that smartphones provide.
22. 60% of Americans ages 18 to 34 admit to smartphone overuse.
The only time this age group prefers to use a laptop is when they have to perform an online search or shop. They admit to favoring a smartphone for all other activities like checking bank balances, watching videos, using social networks, reading news, and so on.
Because of phone addiction facts like these, many device and app makers have created new features that help phone owners limit and track their usage. 63% of Americans say that they are trying to cut down, but only 30% have had any success.
Work and Smartphone Addiction Statistics
People lack discipline. They cannot resist the temptation to check the latest news or their messages. Because of these impulses, productivity suffers.
23. 53.7% of remote workers named their smartphone as the most distracting factor during the lockdown.
Organizing remote work was one of the main challenges in 2020 both for employees and enterprises. While people focused on improving their home offices, their smartphones were the most common distraction, along with gaming which stood at 30.4%.
24. 55% of employees say that their phones are a big distraction.
Focus and concentration are major commodities these days. When asked what qualifies as a distraction, workers clarified that it is something that hinders them from performing their tasks at a satisfactory level. They pointed to social media as the main internet-related culprit. Loud coworkers, office noise, and constant emails followed.
However, phone calls, and especially texts, are the main non-internet phone-related distractions. All this contributes to 20% of employers thinking that their employees work less than 5 hours per day.
25. Employees spend 56 minutes per day on their phones for non-work activity.
Which is more than their managers think they do. The average employer guess came in at 39 minutes per day. Nonetheless, the reality is that employees waste 5 hours per week on personal matters. Social networks are responsible for 62% of this time, and personal emails account for 28%. Male workers admit that they use 9% of their non-productive work hours checking sports sites, and 6% playing games.
26. 31% of employers outright ban mobile phones at work.
While for those working in these companies, it is clear what they can and cannot do, 26% of workers said they are confused about the device policy at their job. Also, 29% of staff think that managers do not trust employees to use their devices responsibly, which is why such bans exist. Some are even confused if their employers can legally enforce such restrictions.
However, nearly half of employees who serve customers think that their smartphones make them more productive, as they believe that these devices enhance the consumer experience and drive conversions at their jobs.
27. An employee is 23% more likely to make an error after texting.
This stat shows why establishing quiet spaces and providing mindfulness classes is so important. The probability of an error increases to 28% every time an employee gets a phone call, cell phone addiction statistics indicate. The problem here is that following a text or call, the employee’s mind is on the newly acquired information, on an issue that’s not work-related. Thus, their focus declines. Managers encourage employees to turn off their non-work-related notifications and are looking into setting up phone breaks to combat the issue.
28. 43% of workers turn off their phones during work hours.
They do so as a way to cope with distractions. Others use different methods, with 30% turning to meditation, and 26% doing a simple task that keeps them busy. These methods help them maintain focus without being too demanding. The survey also showed that 52% of workers think they’re more productive in a quiet environment, and 70% want training that’ll help them cope with distractions, especially phone-related ones.
Enough talk about phones in the workplace, let’s get down to brass tax and find out the fact everyone wants to know.
Yes, this relatively new affliction is real. Still, it is no different from addiction to cigarettes, video games, gambling, or even shopping. Some might consider it way less dangerous, though.
Not everyone is equally affected, but some are, and the potential is there. Phone use at a young age is a contributing factor, as is a lower level of income and education.
However, there are many ways you can kick this ailment, and help lower the numbers shown by smartphone addiction statistics. You can try apps that limit usage, the periodical digital detox, seek professional help, and you can always use ole fashion willpower.
What percentage of people are addicted to phones?
According to a TIME Mobility Poll, 84% of people believe that they could not go one day without their phones.
More than three-quarters of the 5,000 people polled from eight countries proclaimed that they have an addiction problem when it comes to their phone use. The US, India, and Korea showed the most alarming numbers, and the poll confirmed that men and women are almost equally addicted to their phones. Many admitted that being without their phones for even short periods left them feeling anxious. It is a shame that there is no similar recent comprehensive study that we can examine.
Can you get addicted to your phone?
Absolutely. Most people spend more than three hours a day on their mobile devices, with one-fifth of users spending more than four hours per day staring at a mobile screen.
Are phones addictive?
Yes. Half the world’s population has a mobile phone and seeing as these devices make our lives easier, we grow dependent on them.
Is smartphone addiction really an addiction?
There is an ongoing debate in psychological circles about the term smartphone addiction. However, although smartphone addiction does not meet all the standard criteria for addiction, it still falls under the category of “problematic use”. It is also a tool for other types of problematic behavior: online gambling addictions, excessive social media use, and pornography addiction.
How bad is phone addiction?
Phone addiction should not be taken lightly. It can exacerbate sleep loss, loneliness, and depression. Checking your phone compulsively can also fuel your anxiety and disturb your ability to concentrate. It is also a factor in reducing the quality of real-life relationships. Finally, excessive phone use affects the users’ physical well-being, causing eye and neck strain.
How do I beat my phone addiction?
Turn off notifications, take distracting apps off your home screen, do not take your phone to bed with you, put your screen on grayscale mode, and stay accountable. Start by reading some cell phone addiction articles to get informed and get ahead of the problem. Good luck!