Survey Finds Complicated and Conflicted Attitudes;
54% of Women Surveyed “Can’t Live Without” Smartphone; 71% Deeply Bothered When Seeing So Many People Engrossed in Smartphones in Public
Burlingame, CA – March 25, 2014 – SheByShe™, a new women’s opinion site dedicated to giving women a voice, today announced the strong, conflicting results of its “Smartphones: What Women Think” survey. Although smartphones have rapidly evolved into a necessity, with 54 percent of those surveyed saying they “can’t live without” their smartphones; the respondents also expressed grave concerns about the impact pervasive smartphone use is having on society, families and children. Of the women responding to the survey, mostly Internet-savvy, millennial working women, 71 percent said they were deeply bothered when seeing so many people engrossed in smartphones in public, and only 25 percent think smartphones are having a positive impact overall on society. Thirty-six percent feel smartphones are having a negative impact on society, and 39 percent believe the impact is neutral.
“These survey results reveal an interesting paradox; women seem to be saying they love their smartphones when they work for them, and they hate their smartphones when they don’t, and yes, sometimes it’s both things at once,” said Chris Shipley, leading technology industry analyst, entrepreneur and currently a Reynolds Fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
“For instance, women are saying they love their smartphones because it keeps them in-touch with those far away, but they dislike smartphones when they or others pay more attention to phones than those in the same room. And, another striking example is the women who don’t like it when their husbands and kids don’t respond to their texts, and yet one woman recognized the irony when she was in bed with her phone and not paying attention to her husband,” continued Shipley.
Overall the survey showed that women like the convenience of smartphones for getting work done and keeping in touch with family and friends, yet they see a downside as smartphones pull attention away from the people and tasks most immediately in front of them. Eighty-six percent said they check their smartphones first thing in the morning upon waking up and it is the last thing they check before going to sleep at night. According to Statistic Brain, that is more often than the 57 percent of women who brush their teeth twice a day.
The communications connections made with smartphones are so widely adopted and accepted that 24 percent of the women in the survey get annoyed when co-workers, family and friends don’t check their smartphones every hour. Almost half, 49 percent of the respondents, say that smartphones help them have better relationships with their friends. As one said, “We group chat all day long. Even though we don’t get to see each other often, we stay connected through texting and Snapchat.” Another said, “I text friends who live far away. Until texting I had no contact with them, but now we text often.”
Distracting and Impinging on Family Time
As important as smartphones are to the women who took the survey, 49 percent said their smartphones are a distraction, and 24 percent feel like they are missing out on some of life’s most important moments because they are using their smartphones. As one said, “Sometimes I feel like throwing my phone away because it can distract me. I feel anxious because I might be missing something important.”
Twenty-two percent of respondents believe smartphones hinder family relationships. These survey respondents think they impinge on valuable family time, are a distraction and make family members anti-social. As one commented, “My boyfriend and my dog hate my phone.” And, another said, “Everyone seems to be on some sort of device when it’s family time.”
Children and Smartphones
When asked to identify the right time for children to own or have a smartphone, the majority of respondents, 43 percent, think that children should be in the 7th to 9th grade before owning a smartphone, and 35 percent think parents should wait until 10th to 12th grade. Only 13 percent of the survey respondents think that grade school age is appropriate, and the remaining 9 percent think smartphones are appropriate only after 12th grade.
Women who think 7th to 9th grade children are the right ages for a smartphone mostly cite practical reasons: it is a good way to connect with parents or home; it increases independence and makes participation in external activities easier on parents; and it works as a good educational tool. As one respondent said, “They use them for assignments and class work, alarms, reminders. Instead of planners, they are using their smartphones.”
Additional Insights about Women and Smartphones
The survey also uncovered some additional insights about these women and their smartphones:
Fifty-nine percent are having a hard time keeping up with all the smartphone advances.
Forty-three percent are fearful about where smartphone technology is headed.
Twenty percent are “super-excited” when new smartphone versions are announced.
Twenty-two percent are always on the lookout for new apps and things to do with their smarpthones.
SheByShe is Providing Women a Voice
The SheByShe “Smartphones: What Women Think” survey questioned Internet-savvy, mostly millennial women from across America. Married and single women, working and non-working women across the nation and all household income levels responded to the survey.
A colorful, visual slideshow of full survey results can be found here.
The survey was conducted in February and March 2014 and represents U.S. women, ages 25-64, with 773 total respondents.
SheByShe is a women’s opinion site dedicated to sharing what women think about important issues. SheByShe is committed to being objective and transparent. SheByShe is not affiliated with any political party, religion or other group. Surveys are fielded to cover current social, lifestyle, economic, and political issues. Results are posted on SheByShe.com and are shared with key influencers and publicized through major media and information dissemination sources. Participating women feel satisfied that they are speaking up and sharing their point-of-view. For more information or to contact SheByShe please go to www.shebyshe.com.
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