PANIC! Study finds that students are addicted to their iPhones!!

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200 students surveyed in a Stanford study were found to be “addicted” to their iPhones. “When asked to rank their dependence on the iPhone on a scale of one to five – five being addicted and one being not at all addicted – 10 percent of the students acknowledged full addiction to the device, 34 percent ranked themselves as a four on the scale, and only 6 percent said they weren’t addicted at all.”

According to the survey:

Nearly 85 percent of the iPhone owners used the phone as their watch, and 89 percent used it as their alarm clock. In fact, 75 percent admitted to falling asleep with the iPhone in bed with them, and 69 percent said they were more likely to forget their wallet than their iPhone when leaving in the morning.

Is this really addiction? It’s not clear how many students shed other accessories — like a watch or an alarm clock — as a result of their iPhone. I suspect a lot of people are happy to ditch a stand-alone alarm clock at home in favor of using their phone for that task in order to simplify their lives. I’ve been using my phone as my alarm clock for several months now, and I’m perfectly happy with it. It goes with me when I travel, so my nighttime routine remains the same, regardless of where I am. And yes, I use my phone as my watch, since I don’t wear a wristwatch. Using a phone as a timepiece makes perfect sense, especially since the phone automatically updates as you travel around timezones.

The survey is not all doom-and-gloom, thankfully:

The survey also suggests there are benefits to having an iPhone fixation that may balance out the potential negatives. Over 70 percent of those surveyed said the iPhone made them more organized, and 54 percent said the iPhone made them more productive.

My own experiences jive with the Stanford survey. I add little reminders to my calendar all the time to keep me focused and organized.

The link above closes with the obvious observation that “the current survey didn’t cover attitudes toward other smartphone. [sic] It’s possible that other phones with similar features might be just as useful and endearing to their owners as the iPhone is to the Stanford students.” I think this is pretty obvious: I know lots of people who similarly rely on their Blackberries or Androids or Palm Pres to be organized and functional in today’s always-connected world.

I think the real question is not “are you addicted to your iPhone”, but rather “do the applications and features provided by your iPhone change your lifestyle?” After all, the iPhone itself isn’t terribly useful beyond time, scheduling, and communications. It’s all the apps — things like Evernote, for example — that I can’t live without.

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