“Now put your cell phone away” - sentences like this are likely to be said a million times in Germany, especially at Christmas. And often the saying, based on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "You see the splinter in someone else's eye, but not the beam in your own" applies. Because too much on the smartphone, perhaps even while someone is talking to you, is probably the case for many people these days, but they are more likely to notice it in others.
However, the realization that one's own cell phone use could be excessive seems to be widespread. This emerges from a representative Yougov survey commissioned by the German Press Agency.
15 percent rate cell phone use as “much too long”.
Almost one in two adults with a smartphone finds their daily time on the cell phone to be inappropriate. 27 percent rate their own smartphone use as “too long”, 15 percent even rate it as “much too long” - a total of 42 percent. 53 percent, on the other hand, call their cell phone time “appropriate.” Only two percent said they would like to have more time on their smartphone, the rest did not provide any information.
In an identical survey five years ago, only around 32 percent of respondents (instead of 42 now) described their own time on their cell phones as “too long”. 63 percent considered it “appropriate”.
The trend is therefore quite clear as to where behavior has developed between 2018 and 2023.
44 percent of women now say they spend too long on their cell phones - the figure is 39 percent of men.
Younger people in particular struggle with their own behavior
Across the various age groups, there is a trend that younger people in particular are struggling with their own behavior. Around 60 percent of 18 to 24 year olds say they spend too much time on their cell phones every day, and among 25 to 34 year olds the figure is even 63 percent. This value then decreases across age groups.
This figure is 48 percent for 35 to 44 year olds, around 44 percent for 45 to 54 year olds and just 26 percent for those over 55 years old. However, the proportion who do not use a smartphone at all is also highest among people over 55.
What people use (or waste, if you want to put it that way) their time on their cell phones was not explicitly asked this time.
The fact that time can fly by while chatting, playing games, surfing, listening to music and you can quickly take a wrong turn on the internet and end up wondering where the time went is probably a common experience with smartphones.
Physical and psychological suffering
A popular topic of conversation these days is the health consequences of too much cell phone use. These include both physical and psychological suffering.
Cell phone neck occurs because, for example, the head is usually lowered for long periods of time when typing or reading messages, which puts a lot of strain on the neck muscles.
Various stresses can also affect the arms and lead to overloading of the shoulders, as well as the wrists and fingers.
It can put a strain on the psyche if constant availability causes stress, for example. Concentration and attention can also decrease if visual or acoustic signals such as push notifications are distracting.
The so-called phantom vibration syndrome is also reported. Users feel as if their cell phone is vibrating, even though this is not happening - or they are not even carrying the device with them.
Disturbers when going to bed
In addition, cell phones are often said to disturb people when they go to sleep. Only answering messages, reading messages or answering emails briefly before going to bed - this is considered unhealthy.
Difficulty falling asleep can result. It is often recommended to spend the (late) evening offline, i.e. without your cell phone etc.
Looking at your smartphone before going to bed can make it extremely difficult to calm down and switch off.