Smartphone use falls among young for first time

The use of smartphones may have peaked as research suggests that young people have started using them less.

Owners of mobiles and tablets spend an average of 2.4 hours a day staring at their devices, with those aged 16-24 opening an app every 15 minutes. Despite this, market research by Kantar TNS found that the amount of time young people spent on their phones and tablets has started to fall for the first time since it began recording the data. Screen time among pensioners, on the other hand, is increasing.

Over the past year, those aged 16-24 spent an average of 3.8 hours a day on their devices, down from 3.9 hours the year before. Though the decline is small, more than a third of young people said they thought they used their phones too much and wanted to cut down.

Michael Nicholas, global lead of connected solutions at Kantar TNS, said: “It’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle – phones are too entwined in our everyday lives, so we’re not likely to see many young people taking the radical decision to ditch them. However, there’s clearly a conflict between our perceptions on phone usage and acting on it.”

If time spent on computers is included, the average person spends more than five hours every day staring at a screen – and that does not include time spent at work.

Young people spend the most, at an average of 6.7 hours. Every age group other than those from 16-24 increased smartphone use over the past year, although a quarter of people said that they wanted to use their phone less.

The biggest proportionate increase in smartphone usage was among pensioners, who increased the amount of time spent on their mobiles from 36 to 54 minutes a day.

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