Before I got my first smartphone, I handled awkward social situations by texting my friends and pretending to do something that required much more focus and concentration. Now, I can actually be productive while attempting to deal with awkward social situations by checking work emails, paying my bills, and sending “Happy Birthday” wishes to my friends on Facebook. I could almost say that on an average day, I might actually use my phone to access the Internet more often than I do my computer (which translates to a lot of awkward social situations averted).
And I’m not the only one, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, which found that a full 17% of respondents said that they mostly go online using their phone rather than a desktop or laptop computer.
The report identifies three main reasons why nearly one in five people look to their cell phone as their main connection point to the Internet. A full 64% identified convenience and availability as the main reason they mostly go online using their cell phone, while 18% said that their cell phone better fits their usage habits. In other words, two-thirds of people use their phones for surfing the Web because their phones are nearby and easily accessible, while one-fifth tend to only use the Internet for quick, easy tasks that they can do from their phone.
Interestingly, a full 10% of those who said that their phone is their main connection to the Web pointed to a lack of other access options, with 6% saying they don’t have access to a computer and 4% saying they don’t have Internet access beyond their phone.
The report also notes that the number of people who now use the Internet from their phone at all has jumped significantly to 55% of all mobile users. That’s nearly double the 31% who said they’ve used their phone to access the Internet back in a 2009 Pew survey.
A Pew report that came out last summer found that 38% of cell phone owners use their phones to send and receive emails, compared to 29% who use them to access social networking sites. Another 26% said they use their phones to watch video while 22% said they use their phones to post photos and videos online. Just 6% said they access Twitter or make video calls from their phone.
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