Technology | Nation

New Numbers Back Up Our Obsession With Phones

NPR | Oct. 10, 2013 9:06 a.m.

Contributed By:

Elise Hu

You check your phone a lot, even when it's not ringing or buzzing. But just how much? New numbers say it's more than 100 times a day.

You check your phone a lot, even when it's not ringing or buzzing. But just how much? New numbers say it's more than 100 times a day.

Yunus Arakon, iStockPhoto.com

How’s this for a sign of our digitally addicted times: Users swipe their screens to unlock their phones an average of 110 times a day, according to data from the app company Locket.

“We don’t think we are unlocking our phones that many times because we don’t sit down and count,” says Yunha Kim, CEO and co-founder of Locket.

So Locket took count, since it’s an Android app that pays users for placing ads on their lock screens. The company compiled data on its 150,000 users and found they are most active in checking or using their phones between 5–8 p.m. ET, and during those peak hours, the average user checks his or her phone nine times an hour. This takes account of all sorts of reasons the phone’s getting unlocked, whether it’s to use it for messaging, voice calls or to check the time.

If these numbers seem worrying, Kim says that simply checking your phone is saving time you used to spend on other, more lumbering tech, like waiting for a desktop computer to load.

“Everything in your life is on mobile now,” Kim says. “Being obsessed with anything is not a healthy thing, but mobile improves our performance, it makes things easier …. It shortens the time I have to waste somewhere else, if you think about it.”

110 times a day already sounded high to me, but a separate study presented at the All Things D conference this year puts the average phone unlocking number at even higher — 150 times a day.

And the averages are far from the high end. Some users checked their phones 900 times in a 12-hour period.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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