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People Are Pretty Much Glued to Technology 24/7

Three in five internet users are almost always connected

Remember when reading an email during a meeting was a big no-no? Or when texting on a date could get you dumped? Or when you could walk into a room and not see a mobile phone in everyone’s hand? Based on polling by CivicScience, those days are mostly gone.

July 2014 research found that 60% of US internet users were almost always connected. Fully 43% never unplugged from all personal technology, such as audio players, ereaders, laptops and computers, mobile phones, tablets, and TV, and 17% only took a break a few times a year. Surprisingly, 20% of respondents did manage to unplug daily.

CivicScience found that gender and income didn’t play major roles in whether or not consumers unplugged, but age did in some respects, with 18- to 24-year-olds the most likely to say they never unplugged (53%) and 23% of respondents ages 18 to 44 taking a break from personal technology a few times a year. However, both ends of the age spectrum were almost just as likely to unplug daily, with 24% of those younger than 18 and 27% of adults 55 and older citing this frequency.

Unsurprisingly, smartphones had an influence on how often consumers unplugged. Respondents who owned smartphones were 34% more likely than smartphone non-users to never pause their love affair with personal technology. Considering that eMarketer expects the majority (51.4%) of US consumers to use a smartphone at least monthly this year—and 66.9% to do so in 2018—it looks like unplugging will continue to fade out.

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