How do you use your smartphone? If you immediately thought of social media, photographs and browsing the internet, the chances are that you're younger than 36. Anyone older than this would probably have thought of texting and making phone calls, according to new research.
The study – undertaken by Dr Lyn Vernon and PhD candidate Bep Uink from Murdoch University, and Dr Kathy Modecki from Griffith University – involved a survey of over 14,000 Australians. The subjects were asked a range of questions about their relationship with smartphones.
The results show how smartphone use differs across age groups, and the results are perhaps unsurprising. For example, the demographic that uses their handsets for social media the most is 19 to 25-year-olds, while those using this feature the least are those over the age of 76.
On the other hand, the 76-plus age group were most likely to use their smartphones for calls and texts, while the 19-25s were the least. Ms Uink said that the major shift came at the age of 36, which seems to be approximately when people start using their phones in a “more traditional manner”. Before this age the participants were more likely to use their handsets as portable computers, playing games and listening to music on them.
The youngest group was also the most unlikely to use their phones for emailing, which was most popular among 46 to 55-year-olds. Dr Vernon looked at the results and found that almost half (45 per cent) of 26 to 55-year-olds were using their phones to extend their work days.
She said: “There is a lot of moral panic about screen time. However, it is important to understand ways that being switched on 24/7 are damaging us. Are workplaces expecting people to check emails from home constantly and does that increase anxiety? Setting boundaries with fixed work schedules and family time will improve family-work/life balance.”