Phones alleviate boredom, research shows (podcast)

Larry Magid speaks with Aaron Smith, senior research specialist at Pew Research Center, who directed a study on how Americans use their cell phones.

Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. He's been writing and speaking about Internet safety since he wrote Internet safety guide "Child Safety on the Information Highway" in 1994. He is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, founder of SafeKids.com and SafeTeens.com, and a board member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Larry's technology analysis and commentary can be heard on CBS News and CBS affiliates, and read on CBSNews.com. He also writes a personal-tech column for the San Jose Mercury News. You can e-mail Larry.
Larry Magid
Cell phone usage by different ages Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project

One of the many findings of a recent Pew Research Center study called "Americans and their cell phones" is that "42 percent of cell phone owners used their phone for entertainment when they were bored."

Aaron Smith, senior research specialist at Pew Research Center Pew Research Center

The study also found that 40 percent or respondents have used their phone to deal with an emergency and that "13 percent of cell owners pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them." For more, see Eric Mack's post "Ever faked a cell phone call? You're not alone."

The study also showed some differences based on age. More than two-thirds (64 percent) of 18- to 29-year-old respondents used their phone to access the Internet, compared to 54 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds and 26 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds. A whopping 95 percent of adults under 30 who participated in the study said they send or receive text messages, compared to 85 percent of the 30- to 49-year-olds, and 58 percent of people between 50 and 64.

To find out more about the study, I spoke with its author, Aaron Smith, who is a senior research specialist at Pew Research Center.


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