Why we love (and hate) cellphones

In a new study, people admit to being very dependent on mobile phones -- and some even use them to keep other people away.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 17, 2011 2:29PM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.


For some time now, our cellphones have taken on many more tasks than just making calls. The devices, it seems, are both a blessing and a curse.


According to a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, many Americans admit that they would have difficulty getting through the day without their cellphones, relying on the devices to get information they need right away, contact people in emergency situations and simply stave off boredom.


Interestingly, some people even copped to using mobile phones as a way to prevent unwanted personal interactions. Pew found that 13% of cell owners have pretended to use their phones to avoid actually talking to the people around them. Post continues after video.

"Mobile phones have become a near-ubiquitous tool for information-seeking and communicating," the report reads. "These devices have an impact on many aspects of their owners' daily lives."

However, as varied as our uses for a cellphone are, Pew also found that many Americans aren't exactly thrilled with being dependent on mobile devices.


Twenty-nine percent of survey participants admitted that they've turned their phones off for a period of time just to get a break from it, while 46% have felt frustrated by their phones due to long download times, small screens and an inability to send long text messages.


Pew's report is based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted between April 26 and May 22; 1,522 interviews were conducted by land-line phone, and 755 interviews were conducted by (you guessed it) cellphone.


The survey found that 83% of adults own some kind of cellphone, and more than a third of them (35%) have a smartphone of some kind. The most common uses for our mobile devices include text messaging (73%), picture taking (73%), sending photos or videos to others (54%) and accessing the Internet (44%).


More on MainStreet and MSN Money:


Aug 25, 2011 12:54PM
I could live for WEEKS without my cell phone!!  I'm probably out of the norm range.  Personally, I prefer actually talking to someone in person than voicing all my information in a crowded mall, etc.   I get SO sick of hearing people's personal conversations on buses, trains, in malls, on the street, etc.  AND, every person you see walking or biking down the street have a cell phone glued to their heads!  It's getting ridulous!!   I don't care what ANYONE says, NONE of us are THAT important that we have to be available 24/7!!   Give yourself a break!  After all, we DID survive before we had all this technology, and we did pretty well actually.
Aug 25, 2011 1:17PM

Amazing how addicted people have become to these electronic gadgets; many act as though they are a life support system.  People have become so rude with this device. They think nothing of grabbing their phone to answer a call or read a text right in the middle of a conversation with  another person or in a group. 

They are a hazard for both driving and  traffic.  I have even noticed that people walking on very busy sidewalks, the people playing with their cell phones disrupt and slow the flow of traffic.

The phone companies marketing these devices love it due to ease it allows them to rape people's checking accounts.

Aug 25, 2011 12:34PM
I gotta tell you, if you can't live without your cellphone, you better take a step back and look at your life. If you would have difficulty "through the day" without it, you have problems. One of the dumbest articles I've ever seen.
Aug 18, 2011 6:38AM
Don't have one. Don't want one. Don't like 'em, nor do I like people who have them grafted to their hands. Being in touch with your "peeps" just isn't truly important.
Aug 25, 2011 1:01PM

I don't have a cell phone and never will.  People who feel they have to be connected at all times are pathetic.


Customers  checking out in stores who don't even have the courtesy to hang up as they are being cashed out are rude.


What's worse are those who have expensive calling plans for themselves and their kids yet they'd rather complain about the COST of things going up than disconnect.


The one I laugh about the most are parents who justify the expense by saying "I want to know where my child is".  So because you can keep in touch with your kid and he/she tells you they are "at a specific place" that that means they are?  RU kidding?


Basically cell phones have replaced not only interaction but common courtesy.  The sky won't fall if you stop using your cell phones but you may realize that you have become an island within yourself but shutting yourself off from those around you.

Aug 25, 2011 2:06PM
I had a cellphone for 2 years, did not really use it or need it and gave it up a year ago. It is sad for me to see people at dinner all looking down at their phones because I guess the world being brought to the little screen is so much better than the real life that they could be living. Pretty soon everyone will be so wrapped up in watching what is happening somewhere else that everyone will be doing that and there will be no one left actually living a life that would be worth watching. Then what?
Aug 25, 2011 12:51PM
Living through the "Rude Revolution" proves that we are digressing as a society, one text at a time. 
Aug 25, 2011 1:49PM

Cell phones can be handy but I can totally live just fine without one.

However I have noted that some folks do appear to have become very addicted to this technology which can drive us normal humans totally crazy!

Aug 25, 2011 12:34PM
We dont need cell phones - our society is pathetic!
Aug 25, 2011 12:42PM
The only reason I have one is because there are hardly any, if any pay phones any more. Emergency use only, I'm not a chronic yapper.
Aug 25, 2011 12:49PM

Sorry to burst your bubble but I turned off our cell 2 years ago, too expensive.


Doing just fine without a cell phone. And the people blathering on them look more and more retarded every day...texters esp..

Aug 25, 2011 2:07PM
I like having it for car emergencies, but I just have a prepaid deal.  If I use the phone, I speak, texting is dumb.  What's next lapsing back to Morse code? - then smoke signals?  I think these phone extras came about to distract us from the fact that the connections are still lousy when you do try to talk.  AND just what do people have to endlessly yak about? Does it make them feel important?  I don't feel it necessary to announce, I've just used the bathroom and used 2 ply to finish the job!  I hate seeing people not even hang up long enough to go into a bathroom stall!  Screwballs! Just wait until the thumb arthritis catches up with the texters, as I got from so many years on the keyboard at work - painful.
Aug 25, 2011 1:08PM
Never had one, never will have one....if I would ever get one, it would be for my convenience, not everybody elses.....
Aug 25, 2011 1:00PM
How sad is it that a cell phone is a life line??  Extremely sad and says volumes about our need to feel important and connected to nothing but opinions and opinion news.  I find the cell phone is important in an emergency but as a portable computer, it is just sad.
Aug 25, 2011 2:49PM
Happy to be the minority at 25 years old who doesn't own a cell phone and never will.
Aug 25, 2011 1:38PM
I despise cell phones, do not have one, and am perfectly fine with a land line. I do not feel the need for constant updates of my or anyone else's business, and I am a big fan of interacting with people in person. Not surprised to read that 13% of cell phone users also use them to avoid personal interactions... thought the # would be higher, actually. But then, I'd be happy living with very little of what society deems necessary these days.
Aug 25, 2011 1:59PM
oh yeah, also cant stand facebook. yuk
Aug 25, 2011 3:23PM

Did you ever watch the movie Wall-E ? Remember the people being conveyed around staring at screens, the one that fell off his conveyance and did not know what to do, the guy that, due to them always riding around staring at a screen, did not even know there was a swimming pool in the place that they were at?  Please do so and tell me if you don't think the world will be like that someday.

The things that I hear walking to the parking lot from where I work each day, the neat stuff I see on the way home, the smells when you go by certain restaurants, the people that I see walking around, I don't think there is anything on any little screen that is going to beat the actual experience of living my life, seeing it, hearing it, smelling it. Living is a dying art.

Aug 25, 2011 1:46PM
dump it!  and get a full time job.

Thats a crock We do not need that cell phone,(it's handy) but unreliable, And who ever talks on it and no one is on the other end are NUTS no excuses don't want to talk to people then don't  And people who talk and drive are a RISK  and should be considered DRUNK

The land line it has ten times better reception,  Safer and reliable.  

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