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1 in 8 People Are Only Pretending to Talk On Their Phones

1 in 8 People Are Only Pretending to Talk On Their Phones


I thought this was a phenomenon that existed mostly on college campuses: people suddenly pull out their phones, just as you walk by, making a chat impossible.  Not all of them could be getting calls, right?  Some of them must just be avoiding you.

I always assumed that this was a combination of my paranoia and college awkwardness. But it turns out, according to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, that 13% of people use their phones to look busy so they don’t have to talk to anyone else.

The study also revealed the extent of our phone-dependence.  83% of American adults own a cell phone, and half of those use their phones for instant information-retrieval.  But 29% also said that they turned off their phones occasionally, just because they needed a break.

That’s probably healthy, given that, as Meredith Melnick observed at Time’s “Healthland” blog, “many people would argue that turning your phone off is a gesture of intimacy and affection for the people around you.”

Unsurprisingly, the results broke down differently according to age.  Younger people were more phone-dependent and were also more likely to use their phones for non-voice related activities.  A shocking 30% of young people have used their phone to avoid talking to people around them, suggesting that this antisocial gesture is becoming more and more acceptable.

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Photo from ElvertBarnes via flickr

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7:26AM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

It is hoped that Care2 will publish more articles about the health effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices. Mention should be made of existing legislation such as the recent San Francisco ordinance which requires retail shops selling cell phones to display posters and distribute fact sheets to inform buyers about cell phone radiation and how to reduce their exposure to these emissions. We need to encourage consumers to call for more such initiatives to protect our health, especially that of our children.

11:42AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

The less we interact w/people face to face the less empathetic and concerned we become for people and our Earth!

11:38AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

Sometimes even when my music players batteries are dead, I'll still put my headphones on. For some reason I always attract the weirdos on the bus as a chat buddy.

8:48PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

This is the most stupid thing I've read about today.

8:25PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

I wont own one.

6:33PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Ridiculous! Once in a while that might be a necessity but really! I HATE cell phones. I have one but I've only used it once when I was at the airport. It's fabulous to know when you're in the car you're not out of touch in case of emergency but WTF?! People! Put down the phones!!

5:03PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

I had no clear people were doing this. That just seems really rude and anti-social.

5:01PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Cell phones are definitely over used and obsessed over in this culture

4:06PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Thank you for the note

4:00PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

I never would have thought of this!

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