What Are People Using Their Phone For in 2018


Smartphones have changed the world, but the way people use them is constantly avoiding.


There is no doubt the widespread adoption of smartphones is a positive thing overall, allowing people to keep in touch with loved ones wherever they are, as well as working on the go.


However, there is a growing school of thought that smartphones are not good for us at all. But what exactly are we using our smartphones for in the year 2018? Let’s take a look.


How many people have a smartphone?


Research indicates that around two-thirds of the people on the planet now use a mobile phone. This is obviously higher in the more developed parts of the world such as North America and Europe, while data suggests around half of the people on Earth have access to a smartphone.


These figures are amazing considering the smartphone is quite a new invention. The spread of the technology has been far faster than the growth of the internet, for example.


More than half of web traffic comes now from mobile phones, with internet browsing a major part of what people use the devices for. But what else are they doing on their smartphones in 2018?


To pass the time


While the internet and smartphones has given people limitless possibilities in the palm of their hand, according to one study simply passing the time is one of the major uses of the devices. According to the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, 62 per cent of people waiting – whether for a bus, a waiter or queuing – use their phone to pass the time.


While young people are said to use their phones for around five hours a day, this statistic does not necessarily tell the whole story. A chunk of that five hours is likely to double up as time spent doing something else, for instance waiting in line for a latte at a coffee shop.


However, Daniel Kruger of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research suggested even using a smartphone to pass time while waiting in a queue could be damaging.


“If everyone is stuck to their screens, they’re not going to be interacting with other people around them. Are people going to be losing their social skills because they just don’t interact with other people, especially strangers?” Kruger said. “It has very real implications for social cohesion and social capital at a larger societal level, if people just aren’t talking to each other.”


Apps dominate smartphone usage


According to research conducted by the team at Smart Insights, apps account for 89 per cent of mobile media time, so this is a large proportion of what people are using their phone for.


Mobile companies are increasingly wising up to the power of apps, using push notifications to encourage people to spend even more time than ever with their phone in their hand. Apps are also colourful, with a design palate carefully designed to push the right buttons in the addictive personality many humans have.


One way people are getting around this is by turning their phone screens to grayscale, which can be changed in the settings of most mobile devices. This step is recommended by the non-profit organisation Time Well Spent.


Doing this changes all of the colours present on a smartphone home screen to shades of grey, the idea being that the eye will no longer be automatically drawn to Facebook and Instagram. Larry Rosen, psychology professor and author of The Distracted Mind, told CNBC that people check their phones around 15 minutes on average, so greyscale design could bring this down.


Smartphones users love social media


Of course, social media is a large proportion of what people are using their phones for in 2018.


The number of worldwide users is forecast to grow to in excess of three billion monthly active social media users by 2021.


Facebook alone had 2.2 billion monthly active users in the last quarter of 2017, with Mark Zuckerberg having grown the company into one of the biggest in the world.


New social media apps are being launched all the time, so this is not going away any time soon.


Smartphone addiction on the rise


Deloitte found in 2017 that close to half of smartphone owners in the United States have tried to cut down on the amount they use their device.


Some people have made the decision to avoid smartphones all together, which is a sign that not everyone is convinced this new technology is a good thing for everyone’s lives.


Whether this becomes a growing trend in the next few years remains to be seen, especially as the next big jump in smartphone technology is just around the corner.


Most smartphones can be used for other addictive past times, like betting on sports or playing online casino games. The power of smartphones has made it very simple to transport the real life experience of visiting a casino to the screen of a smartphone. The list of devices that can power an online casinois growing all the time, although Apple’s epochal iPhone continues to dominate the market.


Augmented Reality the next growth area


It seems inevitable that Augmented Reality will be the next big thing for smartphones.


This has already been seen in a small way in the form of games such as the hugely popular Pokemon Go, but more prosaic uses for AR technology are thought to be around the corner.


Google Glass used a form of AR but developments in what can be done with the technology are coming to smartphones very soon, so look out for that.


What is for certain is that smartphone technology has changed the world – and is here to stay.



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