1 in 4 Unsuccessfully Try Curbing Tech Use, Study Finds

When was the last time you glanced at your phone? It probably wasn’t too long ago, and it likely wasn’t the first time you checked it today, either. Whether you want to admit it, you’ll probably check it about a dozen more times before the day is over.

Many of us use the term “addicted” in a joking manner, but is it just a figure of speech, or do our behaviors really border on unhealthy?

WhoIsHostingThis surveyed 1,230 people about their device use to see how digital dependence affected their personal and professional lives, as well as their overall well-being.

It seems checking our phones has become second nature. In fact, a little over an hour was the longest any generation surveyed went without checking their phones, with millennials and Gen Zers checking their phones most frequently. Overall, an hour and 16 minutes was the longest people went without checking their phones on a daily basis.

If you don’t see your phone as the issue, you might suffer from “one more episode syndrome.” You sit down to watch your favorite Netflix show only to realize hours have flown by, and you’ve reached the series finale. While this may seem like a harmless indulgence, 31% said that just one to two hours of screen time left them feeling isolated.

However, screen time has evolved into a habit we just can’t quit. For the majority of respondents, waking up and scrolling through social media, checking emails, and catching up on the news was as routine as a morning cup of coffee. In fact, only a little over 1 in 10 admitted to doing something unrelated to technology first thing in the morning.

Daily Dependence on Tech
First activity upon waking up

But our technology use isn’t just interfering with our mornings; it could also be affecting our work performance. Fifteen percent of people had received warnings about their technology use at work. And a small handful of respondents didn’t get the message the first time, as 7% lost their job because of their inappropriate tech use.

Our devices aren’t especially helpful for our personal relationships, either. Friendships were most likely to be affected, with about 60% of people claiming technology got in the way of their relationships. Another 58% of people claimed technology negatively affected their relationships with their significant other and family.

Interpersonal Impacts

And while “catching up” may have meant meeting up in person in the past, this has changed too. The majority of respondents preferred to catch up via text message.

Additionally, half of respondents said they would rather spend a night in with their devices than go out with friends, but 45% of people believed they miss out on events due to their streaming services.

Yet, 48% of respondents said they dropped the ball on some obligation because of the time spent using devices.


WIHT’s research showed our dependence on technology is also getting in the way of personal goals. Nearly 2 in 5 people said their technology use kept them prioritizing their own well-being.

In fact, 65% of people said they’d like to go to the gym more often, with 61% saying their tech use was the reason they’re unable to achieve their goal.

Other goals people skipped out on were eating healthy, getting more sleep, reading more, and spending time with family. The majority (81%) agreed their tech use prevented them from getting a healthy amount of sleep.

how tech use affects our obligations

However, taking some time to unplug might be easier said than done. When nearly 2 in 3 people report using the internet to boost their mood, it becomes clear why so many respondents struggle to disconnect.

Quitting cold turkey doesn’t seem to work well, either. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported feeling restless, depressed, and moody when they tried to limit their technology use.

Unfortunately, the study found nearly 1 in 4 people were unsuccessful when trying to limit their technology use. If at first, you don’t succeed, though, try again.

Technology can be a great tool when used appropriately and, undoubtedly, makes our daily lives easier. However, it’s important to recognize the signs of unhealthy use.

The next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, instinctively grabbing your phone, or binging TV, remind yourself to spend some time offline.

Read next: How to Free Yourself From Your Smartphone (infographic)

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