- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

We are close to our phones. Maybe too close. Americans are now spending an average of 4.7 hours a day on their smart phones - blabbing, texting, organizing, socializing, doing business. And the U.S. leads the list of nations in phone use, this according to new findings from Informate Mobile Intelligence, a Seattle-based research group that tracks and measures consumer use. Phoners in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico spend the least amount of time on their device - about two hours a day.

The report also reveals Americans are data hogs, with the highest average rate of monthly data consumption - 20 gigabytes. And the lowest? That would be Indonesians, who average three gigabytes per month.

For Americans, though, the smart phone lifestyle is pervasive. According to a survey released by AT&T and the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, 61 percent of Americans sleep with their phones and 53 percent get upset if they are without their phones. The center, incidentally, was founded by Dr. David Greenfield, a psychiatry professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. There’s even a word for phone uneasiness. “Nomophobia” is the fear of being without one’s smartphone, and it affects 40 percent of the population.

The Informate study, meanwhile, has also tracked the use of apps. “Google properties represented at least six of the top ten apps accessed across all markets. Facebook properties including FB Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram accounted for the rest. In regard to entertainment apps, video and media player genres had a higher reach as compared to radio and TV. Video apps usage was highest in Mexico. Music usage was highest in India. Radio and TV apps were most popular in the U.S.,” the report said.

“Smartphones are becoming the primary screen for consumers here in the U.S. and around the world,” says the company’s chairman Will Hodgman, who emphasizes that the smart phone use is becoming universal.

“This is not a U.S. and developed country dynamic. It is a global sea change. That’s a powerful new dimension,” he adds, noting that research will expand to 25 countries later this year.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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