What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? If you’re between the age of 18 and 24, it’s probably reach for your smartphone. According to a new report, half of young people in Britain check their phones within five minutes of waking up (one in five do it immediately).
The report on the UK’s “smartphone society” by the country’s communications regulator is a fascinating indication of how quickly and comprehensively the mobile phone has become a hub of daily life—in the UK and beyond. A third of Brits say that their smartphone is now the most important device for going online, double the share two years ago and rising above the laptop for the first time. A fifth see no problem with poking at their phone during family meals.
It’s no surprise that young people are the most keenly tethered to their phones. Among millennials, it sometimes seems like no moment ever goes undocumented on social media.
Perhaps the starkest generational divide in mobile use is reflected in that quintessential smartphone-enabled activity: the selfie. Some 40% of Brits between the ages of 16 and 24 take at least one selfie a week, with 13% snapping photos of themselves every day. Those numbers tail off sharply among older age groups—more than half of people over 25 say that they’ve never taken a selfie.
What else could they possibly be doing on their phones?