The Scary Truth About How Often People Use Their Phones

And, in fact, can't imagine life without it.

Photo by Tim Robberts/Getty Images

If you forget your phone at home, does it ruin your whole day? Do you feel phantom vibrations in your back pocket? If you can't imagine a day without your device—you're not alone. A new Gallup poll reveals many smartphone users feel the same way. In fact, 46 percent of users polled agreed with the statement, "I can't imagine my life without my smartphone."

Gallup polled 15,475 adult smartphone users this spring, and found a few surprising things: women seem more attached to smartphones than men, four in five smartphone users keep their phone close during all waking hours, and 63 percent keep it close even when sleeping. What's more, people are checking it compulsively. More than one-third of employees checked their email on their phone, even outside of working hours. More than half reported looking at their phones multiple times an hour, and eleven percent even admitted to checking their phone every few minutes.

This addiction-like behavior could be bad news—everyone knows that time spent in front of the tiny screen can have many consequences, for both children and adults. A study earlier this month from Rice University revealed that more and more students are realizing how distracting technology can be in the classroom. In fact, a study from University of Texas at Austin found that banning cell phones in school might have the same educational benefits as extending the school year by five days—test scores improved by 6.41 percent points.

The Gallup poll also revealed that 42 percent of smartphone users would be "anxious" or "very anxious" if they lost their devices for one day—and we know that iPhone separation has been linked with actual withdrawal symptoms, like increased blood pressure, feelings of anxiety, and poor cognitive performance.

Ready to take a step back from the screen? Try these easy tips to (finally) put down the phone.