The tyranny of the smartphone has been revealed with evidence people are tapping at the screen every four minutes during their waking hours. A desire not to miss out on anything that might be happening with friends, celebrities and even mild acquaintances on social media has fuelled this tech addition.
Some 24 per cent time of spent on these phones is using the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
At the same time, the conventional working day has effectively been killed off with people dealing with work emails from the moment they wake until their head hits the pillow at night.
Rather than living in the moment, enjoying their surroundings and relating to real people, young smartphone addicts are focused on the screen, constantly searching for something more interesting elsewhere.
Great events, concerts or a sandy beach, are viewed through a smartphone camera to create videos that can be shared online rather than simply being enjoyed.
And people’s entire persona is shaped by the selfies they upload to the many and various social media accounts they use.
The social research, commissioned by Direct Line, involved putting apps on to people’s smartphones to measure how they are used.
It found that – on average – people check the devices an astonishing 253 times a day.
This equates to two hours and nine minutes focused on the handsets, which equates to 10 per cent of their waking hours.
Work is no barrier to the addiction with Britons checking their phones 73 times during a typical working day.
While checking social media accounted for 24 per cent of usage, using messaging services such as Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp accounted for another 12 per cent.
Making calls and actually speaking to people accounted for just 13 per cent of use, while browsing the web accounted for nine per cent.
The rest was made up of things like gaming, shopping, watching videos and emailing.
The research was conducted using 50 volunteers in conjunction with RescueTime, a company which develops time management software. It measured each volunteer’s mobile phone usage continuously for at least four weeks.
Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line Home Insurance, said: ‘This study really does show how attached our customers are to their smartphones, as users constantly dip in and out of apps, checking for updates even when at work.
‘We increasingly rely on our phones to be a personal assistant – providing directions, reminding us of birthdays, handling our banking needs – the list is endless.’
People have become so reliant on the handsets that insurers like Direct Line now offer specific policies designed to offer swift replacements if they are stolen or damage.