Are you a slave to your smartphones? Or master of your mobile?

ABC projects, Media releases, National Science Week

We spend three hours a day on our phones, on average, with almost one in five of us admitting we check our phone at least once every 15 minutes.

These are some of the early findings from Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey, which is looking at how we use our smartphones and how we feel about them.

More than 10,000 people have taken part in the survey so far, but there’s still plenty of time to participate with the survey running until Friday, August 25.

In particular, researchers want to hear from more young people, especially those aged between 12 and 25.

Psychology PhD student Bep Uink from Murdoch University, says: “Young Australians are digital natives so it’s possible they have more sophisticated relationships with their smartphones than their parents’ generation.”

“It’s really important for researchers to hear from young people about the benefits they get from their smartphones, and conversely the downsides of having such a ubiquitous device in their lives, that we might not otherwise be aware of,” she says.

Other early findings from the survey show:

More than a quarter of us said we spend a quarter of our smartphone time on social media. The other things we use our phones for most are text messages and phone calls.

“I often think I would be happier, more productive and less lonely if I deleted my social media accounts and used my phone primarily for podcasts, news, music and maps, however it is difficult to disconnect from the social media ‘pull’,” said one respondent.

Most people describe their phone as helpful, connecting and the key to freedom.

“I feel unsafe if walking alone (particularly at night) without my phone. Being able to quickly send a message or group message, or call someone, is very comforting,” said another.

Forty-five per cent of respondents so far strongly agreed with the statement ‘I think other people should not look at their smartphone when I’m talking to them’.

Comments included “Hate how they may influence conversation opportunities” and “They are stopping us from interacting with the people around us”.

Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey ( is the online national project for National Science Week 2017, undertaken by ABC Science with funding through the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia strategy, and in conjunction with researchers from Griffith University, Murdoch University and Western Sydney University.

The survey can be completed on your phone in between five to 15 minutes.

Seven researchers and science communicators are available for interviews about Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey, and how smartphones affect our lives.

To organise interviews, contact Suzannah Lyons on or 0409 689 543, or Tanya Ha on or 0404 083 863.