Tommy Johnson

The Increasing Prevalence of Smartphones

Communication, Gadgets, Mobile Technology, Smartphones, Technology Trends

The Increasing Prevalence of Smartphones

Surveyed advanced economies found that large majorities of people aged 35 or younger possessed smartphones. This trend can also be found in emerging markets.

Even with concerns of overuse and addiction, most smartphone users feel their device has made life better. Read on to gain more insight into smartphone use as well as factors which might influence it.

Age Group

Nearly three-quarters of Americans own smartphones. Teenagers spend an average of nine hours daily using them and may experience anxiety if their device goes without power, which may indicate smartphone addiction (nomophobia).

Children from birth to eight years of age often use mobile phones, mimicking their parent’s technology usage habits. A European study discovered that children aged 2-13 learned how to use phones by watching direct observation or even accessing parental devices using passwords; therefore it is imperative for parents to engage their children in smartphone-based activities together – this approach not only promotes good digital literacy, but it prevents younger ones from abusing it by sharing phone data or engaging in inappropriate online behavior.

At 18-29 age groups, smartphone ownership rates remain nearly universal (96%). Adults 30-49 also enjoy high smartphone ownership rates (89%), whereas those 65 or over have seen declining smartphone usage rates over time (though 2019 marked an increase from their earlier sub-79% levels).

Education and household income appear to have an effect on smartphone ownership rates. College degrees appear to be associated with increased rates of ownership (99.99 for those with some college education), while household income can predict reduced ownership (80% among households earning below US median household incomes).

Noting the alarming trend that 15% of American adults have become “smartphone-only internet users,” meaning they rely solely on mobile phone to connect to the web, is of great concern, as it highlights lower income Americans who do not possess at least secondary school education, making reliable, secure home broadband services more essential for digital information and communication needs than ever.


As would be expected, there is a marked disparity in terms of gender ownership of smartphones. Men are significantly more likely than women to own one; and as people age this gap widens significantly; for instance in the US 89% of 20-29 year olds own smartphones while 75% own one from 30-64 year olds and only 46% among 65+ year olds own smartphones (US). Affluence also plays a factor; urban citizens (83% own smartphones; followed by suburban (75%); then rural 65%).

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Concerned about problematic smartphone usage among adolescents, male adolescents are at a greater risk than their female peers. Male adolescents are almost twice as likely to have family members who overuse smartphones – likely because parents play such an influential role in shaping their environments and therefore it is essential that we educate parents so we can help our children avoid becoming problematic smartphone users.

This study explored the effect of smartphone usage on cognitive functions. They divided participants into at-risk and normal groups based on frequency of daily smartphone use; then used the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) to measure general and partial subdomain cognitive functions; finally modeling effects such as NSFU, gender and both using proportional-odds cumulative logit models.

Higher NSFU was associated with increased general and partial subdomain cognitive functions; gender was found to be an independent predictor for both. Furthermore, girls reporting high NSFUs were more likely to engage in “phubbing”, the practice of using one’s phone at social settings instead of engaging with people directly – also known as social isolation.

As noted previously, among at-risk adolescents male family members were significantly more likely to use smartphones excessively than female family members; this suggests that family influence plays an integral part in shaping an adolescent’s likelihood of becoming an excessive smartphone user. Therefore, parents need to foster a supportive family environment and teach their adolescents how to responsibly utilize smartphones.


The smartphone adoption gap between rich and poor is narrowing, yet still presents considerable disparities. Age is one of the primary drivers: most 18-29 year olds own smartphones compared to only about half of 50 to 64 year olds; those earning over $30,000 annually tend to own smartphones more likely.

Cost of smartphone ownership also varies by race and ethnicity, with African American and Latino smartphone owners more likely than white users to incur unexpectedly higher phone bills each month than expected. 44% of black and Latino smartphone owners reported an unexpected expense in comparison with only 27% of white users; those with lower-incomes are also more likely to terminate or cancel service for financial reasons.

Studies have also highlighted the addictive nature of smartphones. Numerous studies have confirmed this by finding that smartphone use is comparable to drug dependency when it comes to time spent using them; according to one Pew Research Center study, teenagers typically spend five hours per day on their phones without even attending school! This time spent using phones is considerable when you consider that this time could otherwise have been used productively in some way.

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As with other forms of media, smartphones have the power to reduce social interaction and promote isolation. People become so distracted by their smartphones that they ignore those around them in public places such as bars and restaurants; this behavior has even been reported as potentially dangerous; for instance, one doctor recently issued an alert that Pokemon Go may contribute to mental health issues in children.

No matter the circumstances, nearly all Americans now own cellphones. Of those owning smartphones, nearly two-thirds report carrying it around at all times – this represents a dramatic shift since only 9/10 had reported having their phone with them all the time in earlier mobile phone eras.


According to new research from Pew, it seems as if everyone carries around a smartphone these days – and, according to new findings, that’s because most do. Of people in their 20s surveyed by Pew, 86% owned one; those from higher-income households and urban areas were most likely to own one as well.

Smartphone ownership has experienced exponential growth over the last decade and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. By 2022, it is anticipated that there will be 7.52 billion mobile-connected smartphones globally; that represents about 85% of humanity! That represents a massive leap compared to 2016 when there were 3.67 billion connected devices (representing about 45% of population at that time).

As for location, estimates indicate that approximately 89% of urban and 80% of suburban residents will own smartphones by 2018. These numbers far outstrip those living in rural areas where only four in 10 own one. This could be caused by lower incomes and poor access to data networks in these rural regions as well as online content designed specifically to work best on smartphones which tends to skew toward city residents.

As for other locations, it’s essential to remember that smartphones are increasingly being adopted in developing nations as their speed and capacity improve. China currently holds the highest smartphone usage with over 900 million active users while Ghana boasts one of the highest growth rates – over half of their population own a mobile device!

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