It’s suggested smartphone users check their devices every five minutes out of force of habit. With the several national lockdowns due to the global pandemic, people are relying on their phones more than ever to stay in contact with their loved ones, for work and even shop.
But have current events increased our dependency?
With this in mind, at Protect Your Bubble, we surveyed over 2,000 UK smartphone owners to reveal which life events UK residents find more or less stressful than losing a phone.
Our findings reveal 1 in 3 are more worried about losing their phone than lifechanging events such as going through a divorce, being fired from their job, or suffering from money troubles.
Residents in London seemed to be the most reliant on their phones, with almost a third admitting that forgetting their phone on a day out would be the most upsetting over any other item.
But it isn’t just natives of the Big Smoke who are significantly attached to their phones, as almost 50 percent of residents in the North West, Northern Ireland and Wales find losing a phone more stressful than buying a house compared to the rest of the UK.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of residents in Northern Ireland revealed being without their phone is more stressful than starting a new job.
For young adults, starting university is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences of their lives. Potentially moving away from home for the first time and starting new friendships, however, 65 percent of 18-24 year olds would find losing their device more stressful than the first year of university.
With the data showing the UK’s heavy reliance on their smartphones, the study also looked at which situations users found most stressful when using their phones.
Running out of battery was the number one worry for smartphone users (55%), followed by losing signal (45%) and texting the wrong person (27%).
For 18-24 year olds, 1 in 4 described feeling most stressed after realising they had sent drunk texts or while waiting a long time for a reply when talking to a date or love interest.
Respondents in the East of England are most concerned about dropping off the grid, with over 63 percent revealing running out of battery would make them anxious, and 55 percent admitting losing signal was their biggest worry.
In contrast, North East residents were more concerned about texting the wrong person (33%) or waiting a long time for a long time when making plans (38%).
But for people in the capital, it was the thought of posting in the wrong chat that sent shivers down their spines, with 1 in 5 people admitting a ‘mistext’ is what kept them up at night, almost 10 percent higher than the national average.
Despite recent studies which found that over 36 percent of UK residents are relying on mobile data due to the additional strain on nationwide broadband connections caused by the lockdowns, only 10 percent of people in this study admitted that they found exceeding contract limits stressful.
Another concern that was raised from our study revealed, almost 85 percent of smartphone users state they are uncomfortable or very uncomfortable with giving their phone to a child.
For many parents, this is unavoidable if they don’t have the appropriate resources to carry out home-schooling. Fortunately for UK parents, the government has now launched a scheme that aims to provide laptops and tablets to struggling families.
According to our survey, respondents revealed that they were most afraid of their child dropping their phone (46%), followed by deleting content (37%) and in-app purchases (31%).
This doesn’t seem surprising when only recently, a parent was left ‘horrified’ after discovering her child had accidentally racked up costs of £1,200 while playing online games.
“With the UK in another lockdown at the moment, people are relying on their phones to carry out daily tasks and communicate with each other. So, it’s important they’re covered by gadget or mobile phone insurance to ensure protection against loss, damage or mechanical issues.”