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Smartphone Use is Out of Control — This Graph Says It All

Smartphone Use is Out of Control — This Graph Says It All post image

The average time some people use their phones each day is twice what they guess.

Young people use their smartphones for an average of five hours per day, a new study finds.

That’s one-third of the time they are awake.

Along the way they check their phones fully 85 times per day.

The study asked people to guess how much they used their smartphones.

This was compared with data from an app installed on the phone which measured their actual usage.

The study included 23 people between the ages of 18 and 33.

Most of the usage came in small bursts lasting as little as 30 seconds.

Below is the graph showing people’s smartphone usage in black blocks over two weeks.

Time of day runs along the bottom of the graph and each day of the two weeks runs vertically.

The lines running across indicate the two Saturdays.


People were checking the time, their email, social media alerts or playing music.

Dr David Ellis, one of the study’s authors, 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.”

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE (Andrews et al., 2015).

About the author

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.

He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:

Dr Dean’s bio, Twitter, Facebook and how to contact him.

Phones and relationships image from Shutterstock