Global Study Finds Young People Are Using Smartphones Less

Are smartphones just no longer smart for the younger generation?
d3sign via Getty Images
d3sign via Getty Images

A huge study involving more than 70,000 participants in Britain 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 U.K. are now using their phones for 3.8 hours a day, as opposed to 3.9 hours last year.

That might sound like a small shift, but it's accompanied by unease among some of the youth that while smartphones can be powerful enablers, they're also revealing the darker sides of technology.

d3sign via Getty Images

Over a third of the same age group around the world believe that they're using their smartphones too much, according to the survey.

The study also reveals that 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 U.S.A.

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 director at 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.

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 tells two very different stories. Smartphones are still incredible devices that we use every single day and will continue to do so.

But it appears as though the content that's being delivered through these devices is what's taking a 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.