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People stare at smartphones twice as much as they think

"Our work suggests that estimated smartphone use should be interpreted with caution," said psychologist David Ellis.

By
Brooks Hays
Researcher suggests people don't realize how much they use their smartphones. Photo by Potstock/Shutterstock
Researcher suggests people don't realize how much they use their smartphones. Photo by Potstock/Shutterstock

LANCASHIRE, England, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Technology is all around us, but self-awareness may be in short supply.

New research shows smartphone fiends -- everyone, basically -- significantly underestimate the amount of time they spend using their phones.

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Research suggests the average person uses their phone five hours per day, checking it an average of 85 times during their waking hours.

To measure the gap between perception and reality, psychologists at Lancaster University, in England, surveyed 23 smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 33. In addition to estimating their phone use, study participants agreed to download a usage-tracking app.

The app tracked every check of the clock, text message and social media alert. Phone calls and playing music were tracked, too. In total, participants used their phones twice as much as they thought.

Most phone use happens in short bursts. Of the 85 times an average user checked their phone, more than half of the interactions lasted less than 30 seconds.

"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," said David Ellis, a psychologist at Lancaster.

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The work was published this week in the journal PLOS ONE.

Previous research has linked smartphone overuse to lazy thinking, distracted parenting, insomnia and even make the brain more sensitive to touch.

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