If you’re reading this while someone is talking to you, shame on you!
We have reached a time when smartphones have gradually taken over our lives. Many of us have become anti social and we prefer spending time using our smartphones for chat, music or social media rather than going out and socializing.
Limiting smartphone usage
According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2017, 47 percent of U.S. smartphone owners have made an effort to limit their phone use in the past, as reported by Statista.
It said that the most popular ways of trying to turn off are keeping the phone out of sight in a pocket and turning notifications off. The lure of Twitter, Instagram and the like remains hard to resist however: only 30 percent of smartphone owners have succeeded in reducing their phone time.
Of course it is hard to limit smartphone usage while ownership of these devices is increasing year after year.
In 2018, 66 per cent (two-thirds) of individuals in 52 key countries will own a smartphone, up from 63 per cent in 2017 and 58 per cent in 2016, according to Zenith’s latest Mobile Advertising Forecasts 2017.
But what is the case with smartphones in the Arab region and the UAE specifically? Are smartphones widely in use and what for?
UAE smartphone penetration
Mobile phone usage in the UAE increased to 228.3 phones per 100 people in the first quarter of 2017, according to statistics issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)
Another TRA report reveals that, during the period between 1 April 2017 and 30 June 2017, 81.5% of handsets registered on the UAE’s networks were Smartphones.
Stephen Duignan, vice president of Global Marketing at LogMeIn, creator of the world’s most widely used remote connectivity and support services, said in a media statement that the Middle East is witnessing an accelerated shift to smartphones, buoyed by the UAE’s 78 per cent smartphone penetration ranking the highest in the world.
A 2015 GSMA report reveals that by 2020 there will be 327 million smartphone connections across the Arab States, accounting for around two-thirds of the total connection base.
“This rapid growth will see smartphone adoption in the Arab States catch up with the global average by 2020,” it said.
So guess who is addicted to smartphones?
A shocking 77 per cent of parents in the UAE admit their children complain they spend too much time on their smartphones, an XPRESS poll has revealed.
When XPRESS readers were asked if the time they spent on smartphones upset their children, 31 per cent of parents polled confessed “it is a common complaint” while 46 per cent said “it bothered them sometimes”. Eight per cent said they were too busy to notice, and only 15 per cent said their children had no issues.
Who else is addicted to smartphones? And what do they use it for?
A survey by the Abu Dhabi Education Council shows that more than one in four students in the UAE use social media for five hours or more a day.
Asked how many hours they spend on social media each day, 14.7 per cent of students answered between five and 10, and 12.3 per cent said more than 10 hours.
Most students – 69.7 per cent – said they were on social media between one and five hours daily, while 3.3 per cent said less than an hour.
Forty-one per cent of students said their social media habits had caused them to do without food or drink for a long time, and 56.5 per cent said they had tried to quit social media within the past 12 months but were unsuccessful.
OnlineSense.org, a public awareness initiative, reveals that Saudi Arabia dominates social media viewership in the GCC. They are ranked number two in the world for Snapchat penetration among Internet users. At one point, they were the world’s most avid watchers of YouTube.
A 2017 study by Effective Measure, a measurement company in the Middle East, says that in 2017 almost 70% of people living in MENA browse the web on their mobile.
According to study respondents, the three most popular types of content read on mobile devices are news (15%), sport (12%) & technology (7%). 4% of respondents reported not reading content on mobile devices at all.