London: If you are waiting for a friend, a colleague or even a doctor’s appointment, how long do you think it takes before you check your phone? Not more than a minute. And if you are a man, it could be even shorter – just 21 seconds, says a study.
In the study, participants left in a waiting room on their own for 10 minutes lasted an average of just 44 seconds before touching their smartphones.
Men could not even manage half of this time, waiting an average of only 21 seconds compared to women at 57 seconds.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Wurzburg in Germany and Nottingham Trent University in England on behalf of global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.
To delve deeper into our companionship with digital devices, the participants were asked how long they thought it had been before they reached for their phone in the waiting room.
Most said between two and three minutes, highlighting a significant disconnect between perception and actual behaviour.
“The experiment suggests that people are far more attached to these devices than they realise and it has become second nature to turn to our smartphones when left alone with them. We do not just wait anymore,” Jens Binder from the University of Nottingham Trent said in a press release.
“The immediacy of information and interactions delivered through our smart devices make them much more of a digital companion and connection to the outside world than a piece of technology,” Binder noted.
During the 10-minute waiting session, participants used their smartphone on average for almost half the time.
The study also found that the more we use our phones, the more stressed we become.
Additional research conducted by the universities suggests that this compulsion to check our phones could be as a result of fear of missing out (FOMO) on something when not online.
In an accompanying survey, participants that used their phones more intensely admitted to a higher level of FOMO.
“The more participants use their phone the more they are afraid they’re missing out when they aren’t accessing it,” Astrid Carolus from the University of Wurzburg pointed out.