A Quarter of Americans Use Their Phones To Avoid Other People

Pew Research loves to poll people. The think tank has an impressive number of fact sheets regarding phone usage in countless scenarios, including one about public usage, which reveals some interesting particularities about us using our handsets on the street.

As you can imagine, people use their devices for a wide array of tasks, from socializing to finding their way around the city. But here are the actual usage patterns of Americans:


The interesting part is that roughly one-quarter of cellphone owners (23%) say they occasionally use their device to avoid interacting with others who are near them. 6% actually do this frequently. Pew Research, however, says that anti-social behavior itself is rarely a primary motivator.

Women under 50 say they frequently use their phones to avoid people. 12% of younger women (18 to 49) say they do this frequently. Of the male demographic, 5% of younger men do this.

What else? 65% frequently or occasionally look up info about the place they’re going to see, or directions to there. 70% coordinate get-togethers frequently or occasionally, and 67% catch up with family and friends.

Also interesting is the percentage of people who yank the phone out of their pocket while walking for no reason whatsoever. 18 percent say they do this frequently, 32 percent occasionally, and 23 percent rarely. A closer examination of each activity can be found in the full report, here.

So, how often do you pull out your phone to avoid people?

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