August 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
There has been quite a lot of media interest in the 2011 Ofcom Communications Market Report which provides a really interesting insight into the significant increase in the access to and use of smartphones by the UK population in the past 12 months. Indeed, almost half (47%) of young people aged 12-15 now have a smartphone.
There was a significant focus in the report (and in the media reporting) on how addicted people are to their smartphones. This ‘addiction’ (quotes used in the original report – no quotes used in the media coverage) was primarily measured by asking the question, “Choose a number between 1 and 10, where 1 represents ‘I’m not at all addicted to my mobile phone’ and 10 represents ‘I’m completely addicted to my mobile phone’”. 60% of smart phone users aged 12-15 rated their ‘addiction’ as 7 or more.
The report notes that this ‘addiction’ found among smartphone users is confirmed by other survey items such as the amount of time each day an individual had their phone switched on and how much smartphone use encroached on other social activities (p. 64) – but does this really provide sufficient evidence that people are addicted in the true sense of the word? Saying you are addicted to something in response to a survey question and being addicted to something are quite different things – definitely an issue that needs further research before I would be convinced.