A new study that says 13 percent of all mobile phone users fake talking or being busy on their phones to avoid having to interact with people around them isn't such big news. I assumed the number was much higher.
But that's what the numbers show, anyway. A report published this week by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found that 83 percent of American adults own some kind of cell or mobile phone and that more than one in ten fake using it so they don't have to interact with others.
The survey was nationally representative, and conducted by telephone. And that might be part of the problem with the data, making too low. Stand at bus stops and or corners in most any metropolitan city, however, and one quickly sees that more than 50 percent of the people are fidgeting with a mobile communications device.
Certainly, some are having conversations or listening to music, but I've long surmised many are just feigning activity, in order to look busy so they can avoid having to interact with others. The phone fake as more than eight of of 10 adults has become as commonplace in everyday life now as the head fake is employed in basketball.
Other findings in the Pew study were similarly interesting, but not so revealing since now we are quite accustomed to the myriad of ways mobile and smartphones interact with if not dominate our lives.
The findings include:
--The study found that cell or mobile phones are used at least once by 51 percent of all adults to get information they need right away. The study didn't not specifically say this but other information has revealed that one way mobile device users do this is by cross-checking prices at stores on the Internet on the spot. Reportedly this has been a boon to Amazon's business, since the online retailer consistently has the lowest prices of all major retailers.
--73 percent of survey respondents say they use their mobile device for more than a phone -- the primary uses are text messaging and uploading photographs.
--42 percent of mobile phone users say devices have saved them from boredom. One would only have to take a few trips on the New York subway system to verify this. There, the number is probably closer to 80 percent, if not higher, since riders listen to music and play games and write messages they'll send when service restores once above ground while riding the trains.
--Forty percent of mobile phone users say they have found themselves in an emergency situation where having the device helped them out.
--29 percent of the Pew study resopndents say they turn off their mobile devices to get a break from using it -- presumably this is done when nobody is around that want to avoid interaction with.
--23 percent of mobile phone users say they have experienced frustration because their phone takes too long to download information.
--16 percent said they have had difficulty reading something on their mobile phone because the screen is too small.