Report: Teenagers 'addicted' to smartphones; Parents almost as bad

Summary:UK communications regulator says more smartphones were sold than regular phones, as 60% of British teenagers describe themselves as "highly addicted".

Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, published its latest research this evening, revealing an entire nation addicted to smartphones -- with teenagers being the worst culprits.

According to the research, a quarter of all adults and nearly half of teenagers now own a smartphone -- with nearly 60 per cent of all smartphones, including Android, BlackBerry and iPhone devices, bought in the past year.

Teenagers are not only leaving behind books and television in favour of their smartphone, adults are becoming slaves to their handhelds, too.

(Image via Flickr)

37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teenagers admit to being "highly addicted" to their smartphones, which pump through masses of social media, statuses, tweets and text messages per day.

Nearly half of all teenagers aged 13 to 16 admitted to using their smartphones on the loo.

The research also explores other avenues, such as the blurring of lines between work and social time, and the generational gap.

Teenagers are more likely to buy applications from their phone application stores (38 per cent) than adults (25 per cent). Though teenagers are more likely to play games on their smartphones than download music applications, adults are also more likely to download games.

And though social networking is long believed to have been all but limited to the younger Generation Y, nearly half (48 per cent) of all adults have a social network profile.

While those over the ages of 75 and past the employment mark, many within this bracket have yet to 'catch up' with those aged 16 and over. However, Ofcom says there is evidence to show that the gap is narrowing, with many more accessing high-speed internet and using mobile phones.

With the increased demand from data hungry smartphones, despite many mobile operators scrapping unlimited data plans in favour of capped plans, operators are coping well.

What is clear from the research is that, while students and teenagers are increasingly dependent on their smartphones, so are adults.

Though the figures show a clear disparity between the generations -- often by at least a quarter in per cent -- adults are becoming just as more likely to engage in behaviours that revolve around their phones.

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Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software, Government, Government : US, Hardware, Smartphones

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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