Many ‘Addicted’ to Cell Phone Use

Are you addicted to using your mobile phone? Many people are these days. A recent AOL-Pew Research Center Mobile Lifestyle Survey revealed that 52 percent of American adults surveyed keep their cell phone turned on all the time while 40 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 are saying that they are increasingly likely to drop their landline once and for all.

It’s not just about making and receiving calls while on the go anymore. American cell phone users are becoming more sophisticated in using the services and features on their phones. This year’s must-have feature is mobile mapping and directions, with 47 percent of adults surveyed saying they would like to have this function at their fingertips.

Changing Lives

The ways in which mobile phones are changing the way we interact with the world will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. According to the AOL-Pew survey, Americans would like to be able to use their phones to:

  • Use mobile maps: 51 percent
  • Send text messages: 48 percent
  • Take pictures: 47 percent
  • Play games: 34 percent
  • Send mobile e-mail: 32 percent
  • Use mobile search: 31 percent
  • Play music: 25 percent
  • Record video: 23 percent

“As overall mobile usage grows, people are getting more and more comfortable with the additional features and Web services their phones have to offer,” Bill Schwebel, senior vice president, AOL’s wireless division, told TechNewsWorld.

Constant Companion

As a constant companion, the cell phone is becoming an entry point for all information, location and communications services, including Web search, mapping, instant messaging and more.

The survey also found that thirty-five percent of those surveyed say they send text messages to friends, family and business colleagues, including 65 percent of those ages 18-29 and 37 percent of those ages 30-49, The survey was conducted by telephone March 8-28, 2006 among a sample of 1,503 adults aged 18 and older, including 1,286 cell phone users.

Twenty-one percent of mobile users say they would like to have all instant messages (IMs) forwarded from their PC desktop to their cell phones. Meanwhile, 38 percent say they would like to have desktop IMs from select contacts that they choose automatically forwarded to their mobile device, including 50 percent of those ages 18-29.

According to JupiterResearch, there are, today, nearly 195 million mobile phone users. In addition to looking at the features most popular with mobile users, the AOL-Pew Center survey provides a unique look into the behaviors and usage trends of today’s mobile society.

Fully 74 percent of survey respondents say their cell phone has helped them in an emergency while 41 percent say they regularly place calls when traveling or waiting for someone.

Societal Impacts

“As the mobile phone becomes an ever-more essential communications tool, we are beginning to get measures on some important societal impacts,” said Lee Rainie, director, Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The cell phone is playing a key role in our daily lives, whether it’s used for emergencies or as the primary technology for our most basic interactions with others, Rainie added.

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