Most people can’t make it through a meal without checking their mobile phones, new research from YouGov has found.
According to a survey of more than 2,000 people 55 per cent said they checked their phone during dinner, while 53 per cent said they look at their phone even when dining out with friends or family.
Such is our addiction to our mobile devices that more than half (54 per cent) said they could not go more than two days without their phone before it bothered them, and one in five said they couldn’t cope being without their phone for four hours.
In a bid to tackle the growing addiction to electronic devices a number of national campaigns, such as Scroll Free September, were launched to help users cut down on their mobile device use and raise awareness on the addictive nature of electronic devices.
Both Google and Apple have responded to the growing debate about the impact of mobile phone use on public health by introducing usage tracking tools features to their devices in an effort to improve digital well-being.
Last month Apple launched a new feature on iPhones and iPads designed to limit screen time, especially in children.
The software update was intended to allow users track and limit the time they spend online to counter smartphone addiction, but hacks were quickly found to bypass the feature including manually changing the time on a device.
Meanwhile the negative impact of staying in contact with your device has been well documented, especially when using social media.
5Rights, a children’s charity founded by Baroness Kidron, earlier this year said social media was so addictive for children that the Government should classify it as “social harm” and make it carry health warnings.
The new research was carried out to mark YouGov's partnership with The Future Starts Here exhibition at the V&A Museum, which examines Britain's increasing addiction to mobile devices and how it is changing human interaction.
Russell Feldman, director of digital, media and technology research at YouGov said: “It will have escaped no-one's notice that smartphones are taking over our lives. Across the land, the sight of heads bowed over small screens is now ubiquitous.
“We can only speculate on the impact this is having in terms of our relationships with colleagues, friends and even close family. But our survey does suggest that traditional conversations are being discarded, in favour of checking our latest email, notification or message.”
The YouGov research also indicated that two thirds of mobile phone users (65 per cent) check their phones while in bed despite sleep issues having been linked to the blue light emitted by phone screens and other devices.
Almost half of those surveyed also admitted to checking their device when waking up in the middle of the night.
Scientists have found that the blue light emitted by electronic devices can trick the mind into thinking it’s daytime and have since issued common advice to switch off all your electronic devices an hour before bed.
Some hardware manufacturers have since introduced night light features to lower the amount of blue light emitted by devices in an effort to reduce the impact of late night usage.
Mr Feldman added: “What our research shows is just how attached to our mobile phones we really are - and perhaps without even realising it.”