A huge study which involved over 70,000 participants has found that younger people are spending less time on their smartphones.
The report by the market researcher Kantar TNS found that people aged between 16 and 24 in the UK are now using their phones for 3.8 hours a day as opposed to 3.9 hours last year.
Now that might sound like a small shift, but it’s one that’s accompanied by a general consensus that while smartphones can be powerful enablers, they’re also revealing the darker sides of technology.
Over a third of the same age group across the world believe that they’re using their smartphones too much.
The study also reveals how smartphones and other new technologies are causing increasing concerns about privacy.
Globally, 40% of people are worried about the amount of information companies have on them. Break this down to individual countries and the figures change dramatically. That number skyrockets to 60% in the US.
It’s not all doom and gloom however because ultimately the report doesn’t suggest that the smartphones themselves are the problem, rather it’s the way in which large brands are using them to reach us.
Michael Nicholas, Global Lead of Connected Solutions, Kantar TNS said: “We are now living in a connected, post-truth world where the default for many consumers is suspicion, not acceptance.”
Interestingly this eroding of trust hasn’t stopped us from wanted to try new technologies. In fact 39% of those asked globally said they would happily adopt a new technology (such as a chatbot) if it meant that their problem was dealt with quicker.
Fascinatingly the cynicism experienced in developed markets differs greatly from those in developing markets.
As an example, just 32% of people in Nigeria believe that companies own too much information on them. In Poland however a staggering 72% of those asked feel that big brands know far too much about their personal lives.
The report then tells two very different stories. Smartphones are still incredible devices that we use every single day and will continue to do so.
Instead it appears as though it’s the content that’s being delivered through these devices that’s taking the toll on how we feel about them.
“Consumers in emerging countries trust technology and social media channels because they experience the empowering effects of both in their lives.” explains Nicholas.