Research by Nottingham experts shows checking smartphones has become so habitual some people don’t even realise they are doing it.
The study by Nottingham Trent University found people use their phone twice as much as they estimated they do, with an average of 85 uses per person per day.
The researchers also found that smartphones are mostly used in short bursts with more than half of uses lasting less than 30 seconds.
And they are used for a third of the time people are awake, across around five hours a day in total.
People have very little awareness of the frequency
Dr Sally Andrews, a psychologist at the university’s School of Social Sciences, said: “This is the first study to objectively demonstrate that some of our mobile phone interactions are habitual.
“It seems that people have very little awareness of the frequency with which they check their phone.”
The study was conducted by researchers measuring 23 participants aged between 18 and 33.
An app was installed on their smartphones to record how often the screen was turned on, how long for. and what activity was taking place.
Dr Andrews added: “Heavy users are not necessarily the same as problem users.
“The key thing to make clear is the fact that using your phone a lot doesn’t equate to having a problem.
“For me, it’s something that’s not looked at specifically but problem users have their quality of life impacted whereas although heavy users are dependent on them for work, their quality of life is not affected.”
Dr David Ellis, a psychologist at Lancaster University, which helped in the study, said: “Psychologists typically rely on self-report data when quantifying mobile phone usage in studies, but our work suggests that estimated smartphone use should be interpreted with caution.”