Looks like modern-day smartphone users are getting pretty squeamish about talking on the phone.
The latest report from Ofcom reveals that people in the UK are more likely to text than to have an actual phone conversation. According to the country’s communications industry regulator, 58 percent of people in 2011 communicated via text daily vs. 47 percent who made cell phone calls everyday.
The typical UK user now sends 50 texts weekly. Meanwhile, phone calls in general — whether from landlines or mobiles — have dipped. And when actual calls did take place, they were shorter, with time on the line having fallen by 5% in 2011. Unsurprisingly, young users (ages 16 to 24) seem to be the ones leading the charge away from phone conversations, most of them using some form of texting to communicate with loved ones, whether via SMS or social networking.
Compare that to stats from Pew Internet & American Life Project. According to its research, American text users get or send an average of 41.5 messages daily. And the numbers more than double for younger users: Users between ages 18 and 24 send or receive an average of 109.5 messages on a typical day. If you do the math, that’s over 3,200 texts per month. But despite these numbers, 53 percent still say they prefer voice calls.
At least there’s one technology that seems to be encouraging togetherness, and (surprise) it’s the television. The Ofcom report discovered that, after years of family members retreating into their own rooms and separate television sets, communal TV viewing is back on the rise. This may have something to do with the fact that households tend to only have one monster jumbotron in the residence (or a single smart TV in the home). Regardless, families have started gathering to watch the living room box together again — of course, with each person having their own devices in tow.
Have you noticed any changes in your cell phone or TV behaviors? Do your gadgets bring you closer to friends and family, or help you keep your distance?