Motorola has been making cell phones and smartphones for a very long time. For most of us, the smartphone has become an extension we can’t function without. But it has become increasingly apparent that some users have an unnatural obsession with their phones. So the company did their own study which showed that most people need a better “phone-life balance.” Motorola partnered with Dr. Nancy Etcoff, a renowned expert in Mind-Brain Behavior and the Science of Happiness at Harvard University and Psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry.
The study was issued by Ipsos, an independent global market, and opinion research company. The study takes a “looks at behaviors and phone use habits across generations and seeks to understand the impact of smartphones on our relationships with ourselves, other people, and the physical and social environment.”
“For the majority of smartphone users, their problematic behaviors are mindless responses and bad habits that they need help in overcoming,” says Dr. Nancy Etcoff. “Behavioral nudges, environmental control, and mindfulness will all help, as will the efforts of those within the smartphone industry. The broad social pattern uncovered in this survey of multiple countries highlights the need for collective understanding and action.”
Below are some of the key findings from the study. You can also take a quiz to see where you rank on the Phone-Life Balance website. Be sure to check out Motorola’s blog post to see what they’re doing to try and make things better.
Key Findings: The study shows people are putting their phones before the people they care about, with the most alarming findings tied to younger generations who have grown up in a digital world. We also understand people recognize the need for balance and are raising their hands for help:
- Phone Importance: One-third (33 percent) of respondents prioritize their smartphone over engaging with people they care about and want to spend time with them.
- Generational Factors: Issues with smartphones are more intense among younger generations, with over half (53 percent) of Gen Z respondents describing their phone as a best friend.
- Help Wanted: People want help with phone-life balance. In fact, 61 percent of participants agree that they want to get the most out of their phone when they are on it, and the most out of life when they are not.
- Separation Desired: The majority of participants (60 percent) say it’s important to have a life separate from their phones.
We pinpointed three key problematic smartphone behaviors that impact our relationships with others and ourselves, with the study showing that younger generations are more likely to adopt these problematic behaviors:
- Compulsive Checking: Half (49 percent) agree that they check their phone more often than they would like (nearly 6 in 10 in both Gen Z and Millennial generations) and agree they feel compelled to constantly check their smartphone (44 percent).
- Excessive Phone Time: A third (35 percent) agree that they are spending too much time using their smartphone (44 percent of Gen Z) and believe they would be happier if they spent less time on their phone (34 percent).
- Emotional Overdependence: Two-thirds (65 percent) admit they “panic” when they think they have lost their smartphone (about 3 in 4 Gen Z and Millennials) and three in ten (29 percent) agree that when they are not using their phone they are “thinking about using it or planning the next time I can use it.”