Just your average addiction

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut, Kitchen Table Talk

Before today, if you had asked me how often I am on my cell phone, I probably would have shrugged and said, “About average.”

My cell-phone bill remains pretty much the same every month, so I rarely look at anything beyond what I owe, unless something is out of whack. Since I am “paperless” and receive my bill only online, I just open the first page, record the amount on my bill-payment system and pay it.

This month, however, I needed to check it. I knew it would be higher because I had some travel charges – a cruise package and international package – added to it, and I wanted to make sure all was as advertised.

It was, but I made the mistake of downloading and opening the PDF of my actual bill.

Holy Moly. Every single call, data check and text message is listed by date, including how long the call, how big the file was and how many text messages per day.

It was an eye-opener for someone who doesn’t think she is “on her phone” all that much.

But there it was: 22 pages of “Oh really???” I started counting the phone calls but lost interest quickly and did an average. With an average of 98 calls per page, with four pages of just phone calls, I called or answered pretty close to 400 calls in 31 days.

The text and data – which for me is primarily email and Facebook – took up the rest of the 22 pages.

I love my phone because it keeps me in touch with my family and gives me peace of mind. But I guess I just didn’t realize I loved it that much!

Studies for 2018 saw the average time U.S. adults spend on their phones increase over the previous year by 11 minutes. Adults in the United States spend an average of three hours and 25 minutes on mobile devices daily, but that includes everything.

Judging from my phone-bill analysis, I think that’s nowhere close to how much time the average person actually spends on a mobile device.

The study said that apps account for 90 percent of internet time, but everything is an app now, so I don’t know how significant that stat is.

The leading app activity – and they get no help from me on this one – is digital audio. If I am listening to an audiobook, I do my part for a few days, but nowhere near the 50 minutes the study found the average adult uses per day. Social networking is next, with 40 minutes of app time.

I would say the saddest thing I found in the studies I read was that Americans check their phones an average of 80 times a day while on vacation, with some saying they check their screen more than 300 times a day.

However, since I started this tome with the admission that I had added a cruise and international package to my phone while traveling, well, glass houses and everything …


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