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Most people think they check their smartphones less than others, says survey

Technically Incorrect: Think about that headline -- it's mathematically impossible, which makes us all somewhat delusional about phones, at least according to a Gallup poll.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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How often do you check your phone iPhoneOSunlock/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I don't think I check my phone very often.

(checks phone)

I'm fairly confident I'm not obsessed with it. Well, at least not as obsessed as other people are.

(checks phone)

Which means that it's likely I'm just as bad at checking my phone as everyone else. A new Gallup poll, you see, offers one glorious statistical and human nugget: 61 percent of people believe they check their phones less than other people do.

While you compute that sleight of mind, let me tell you that 30 percent of these people claimed they look at their phones a lot less often. Because sanctimony suits us when we're answering surveys.

(checks phone)

Perhaps the most glorious was that a mere 3 percent sighed, looked down at the ground and muttered: "Yes, I look at my phone a lot more than other people."

You will now be wondering just how often most people -- or rather the minority, as it were -- check their phones.

A hearty 11 percent admitted that they check their phones "every few minutes," 41 percent nodded to "a few times an hour," and 20 percent to "once an hour."

You, like I, would surely love to meet one of the 2 percent of people who claimed to check their phones "less than once a day." Do they work down a mine where there's no signal?

(checks phone)

Gallup conducted this survey between April 17 and May 18. The survey had Web and mail components and 15,747 US adults who claimed to have a smartphone replied.

The game now is for you to be honest about how bad it's become for you.

I'll start by admitting it's become really bad for me. I have genuinely checked my smartphone the number of times I've marked while writing this article. I'm waiting to hear from someone and it's that distracting.

(checks phone)

This survey makes me feel better in one way. My general habits seem aligned with those of young boys and girls. The 18-29 age group was most inclined to admit checking their phones "every few minutes."

For me, this is how bad it's become: I feel a genuine sense of (idiotic) achievement if I get through a dinner and keep my phone in my pocket. It doesn't happen often. I use appalling excuses, as the dinner conversation rolls. For example: "Let me Google that to check."

It's awful. Truly awful.

Now please tell me how bad it is for you. While I check my phone, that is.