New Survey Finds Americans Treat Mobile Devices Like Their Best Friends

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With smartphones and tablets growing more and more in popularity, it seems Americans have started treating the gadgets as best friends, as a new survey indicates that Americans may prefer quality time with a mobile device to hanging out with a “real” friend.

Love SmartphoneIn the survey commissioned by Citrix, 69% of respondents said it has been one day or less since they last ate a meal without checking their device. Yet, don’t be so quick to blame the kids for texting and tweeting at the dinner table, as only 66% of Millennials checked their devices while sitting down for a meal, compared to 68% of Gen Xers and 71% of Boomers.

Is it a lull in conversation to blame? Or perhaps attention spans are getting shorter with the influx of technology, as 64% of those surveyed said the primary reason for using their mobile devices is “to keep myself from being bored.” However, some users think their smartphones and tablets are a good way to bond with friends, with 32% saying they use mobile devices “to bring friends or family together.”

And just like any best friend, a user’s mobile device holds all of his secrets, with 46% of respondents admitting to watching a television show they would never watch with their friends, in private on their handset or slate. It also appears this trust goes beyond keeping secrets, as 55% of respondents said they trust “how-to” advice taken from the Internet over advice from their parents. Interestingly, only 54% of Millennials trust advice from the mobile web more than that from their parents, while 62% of Gen Xers would take the wisdom of the Internet over their parents.

Of course every friend has their shortcomings, and mobile devices are no different, with nearly a third of respondents saying they will only wait eight seconds for a mobile Web page to load before giving up. Additionally, 72% said they are likely to abandon downloading a large file due to slow download speeds.

With such a dependency on mobile devices, Americans tend to feel abandoned when stripped of their smartphone or tablet, perhaps even more so than losing a best friend according to Mick Hollison, vice president of Integrated Marketing and Strategy, Citrix.

“These survey findings confirm suspicions that most of us are rendered completely helpless when separated from our mobile devices, perhaps even more than when we are pulled apart from our best friends.” said Hollison. “As our attachments to smartphones and tablets continue to grow deeper and more intimate, companies must respond with new ways to empower people to use their favorite devices across their personal and professional lives. This will enable all of us to reach new levels of productivity and prosperity.”

The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, questioned more than 1,000 American smartphone and tablet owners ages 18 and older in January 2013.

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