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Why cell phones are fine

August 28, 2015

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We told you about the Pew Research Center study showing that millennials have different attitudes toward mobile devices than older generations.

Now, let’s look at why.

The main reason millennials think cell phone use is fine in so many situations is that they rely on their phones for directions.

Fifty-two percent are pulling out their phones to get information about where they are going. Just nine percent of people aged 65 and up use phones for that purpose.

Phones are also the way millennials coordinate with their friends. Half said that’s why they use their phones in public.

About 39 percent say they rely on their phones to stay connected with family. 

Boredom is another reason: 35 percent said they use their phones just to have something to do.

And 13 percent admit that they use their phones to avoid interacting with people nearby.

The Pew study also has some interesting research about how millennials have used their phones during social gatherings.

Eighty-two percent say they’ve used their phone to read a text or email. Three-fourths of millennials have sent a text while they were with people.

Seventy percent have taken a photo or shot a video (we wonder why this isn’t higher) while 60 percent have received a call.

Interestingly, only 47 percent admit to have made a call while they’re out. So, people other than millennials are calling millennials. Like their parents, perhaps.

For story ideas, find some millennials and ask them about their cell phone use. It might be fun to track down multiple generations of a family and ask about their different attitudes.


  • Micheline Maynard

    Micheline is a contributing columnist at the Washington Post concentrating on business and culture. She has written about flooding in Detroit, tainted water in Benton Harbor, nationwide shortages of restaurant staff, and vaccine hesitancy.

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