Tech by VICE

Most Adults Aren’t Checking Their Phone Just to Be Antisocial, Study Finds

Young adults feel much more permissive about using phones in social gatherings, while seniors just don’t like phones all that much at all.

by Clinton Nguyen
Aug 26 2015, 7:47pm

Image: Lars Plougmann/Flickr

A large majority of adults use mobile phones, but how we feel about using them in social gatherings may be different depending on which decade you were born in.

The Pew Research Center today published its findings on mobile usage after polling 3,217 adults and what they found was that, yes, 89 percent of cell phone users used them during a social gathering, no matter your age. But young people predictably felt less weird about pulling their phones out in the middle of a conversation:

Image: Pew Research Center

What's interesting is that there's not much of major difference between major age cohorts, but once you get down to senior citizens, they're more likely to disapprove of phone use in general.

What they also found was that we're generally not being antisocial, but rather, looking something up or filling up the awkward silence:

Image: Pew Research Center

The takeaway from the study though, is that middle-aged adults are trending towards being more permissible, and younger people still err on the side of sensible when it comes to awkward situations. No phones during church, family dinner, and so on.

Seniors trend toward conservatism, but we already knew that. And more of them don't own cell phones anyway, so who's to judge?

So to put a plug in it: selfies at funerals, or other outrageous youth-borne trends aren't really so much trends as they're outliers for generational finger-wagging. Olds, not-so-olds, we're much more similar than we think.