Young South Africans check their cellphones at least 30 times an hour: survey


A study by Adoozy power — a SA-based technology start-up that hires out mobile power banks in automated kiosks — found a significant percentage of 18 to 26-year-olds spend an average of 30 seconds on each interaction, equating to spending at least a quarter of every day engaged with their cellphone.

In addition, almost 40% said they’d rather skip meals for the day than run out of phone power, while almost a third reported that they fall asleep with their phone every day.

About 85% admitted to using their phone while on the loo.

Adoozy CEO Kegan Peffer said the research emphasised the extent to which mobile devices are a way of life for young South Africans.

“A smartphone is more than a must-have, it’s an inseparable extension of their being. Anyone who wants to interact successfully with this audience for any purpose whatsoever — business, leisure, education or on social issues — needs to understand that and embrace the mobile-first culture.

“In SA there are additional factors that give young people a form of separation anxiety if they don’t have a working mobile device. Personal safety is an obvious one — particularly for at-risk groups such as young females. Smartphones are also a useful provider of mobile internet and email services during load-shedding — for study and work-from-home purposes,” said Peffer.

Among other highlights of the research:

More than 80% surveyed said they consider themselves “addicted” to their phones.

At least 40% of respondents said they need to charge their phone at least twice a day, with almost 30% saying three or more times a day.

Most said the worst time for their phone battery to go flat was while at a party or event.

About 77% said they feel the need to reply instantly to messages.

About 33% reported running out of data at least once a week.

Almost 60% reported that if they are left without their phone they feel anxious, unsafe and vulnerable.

Peffer added that South Africans were already attached to their cellphones before the pandemic.

“Since then, our phones really have become a lifeline, helping us to maintain contact when lockdown kept us physically separate from those we love and made it possible for us to work and study remotely. Our phones have also become a fundamental part of our identity and how we capture our lives and memories.”

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