Smartphone use before and during Covid-19*
It’s a reasonable assumption that during 2020 most of us relied on our screens a lot! They were often the means of accessing important information and news, checking in with loved ones, keeping in touch with friends and family, and just generally passing the time while we couldn’t do the usual things we had always done. We surveyed 1,788 young Australians in July 2020 to ask about their screen habits.
Around 44% of the respondents said that they felt unable to control their smartphone use since the pandemic began, while 57% said that their smartphone use had increased a lot during the pandemic. It’s not quite as bleak a picture as you may think though. Around two thirds of the sample (63%) said that they felt ok with how much their smartphone use had increased during the pandemic, and a massive 85% agreed that their smartphone was an essential tool for staying connected and informed during the Coronavirus pandemic. More importantly, we were able to compare the amount of problematic smartphone use in the 2020 sample with data from an equivalent sample (in terms of age, gender and sample size) from 2019. We found that there was no increase in the amount of problematic smartphone use in 2020 compared to 2019. So even though the pandemic pushed us towards our screens more than ever before, it seems that we used them in a very mindful and helpful way. For many people, their smartphones would have been a lifeline for a variety of reasons. The challenge for us now though is to not let the increased reliance become a problem in post-Covid-19 times.
*This data is still being prepared for publication and is yet to go through the peer review process.