Moms are obsessed with their phones and there’s data to prove it

by Whitney Moss on October 24, 2013

in Geeky

Moms and smart phone usage

The smart phone is a glorious thing. No longer are we tethered to desks or home phones if we are waiting for a call or message. Our purses and diaper bags are not weighed down with cameras or address books. Our wallets are not made thick with baby pictures.

Instead we have twitchy thumbs and a tendency to fact check everything instead of racking our brains for the answers. (Example: I just verified the word is “racking”, not “wracking” before I even finished writing the previous sentence. I did not rack my brain to remember which word is correct.) Why drive around the block looking for a restaurant? I’ll let Yelp or Siri tell me exactly where to go.

BabyCenter.com did a study to find out just how much mobile phone usage is part of Mom’s life. Here are the findings:

  • This thing is awesome! Phones are primarily productivity tools. Moms use them for banking and finance, calendaring (which is increasingly complex as kids reach school age), and searching for information. Sure, there’s a lot of entertainment activity as well: social media, games, music and podcasts. We love these devices so much that many of us check Facebook or email first thing in the morning, before coffee.
  • We fear missing out. A new term has been born: nomophobia. And also? Mobile Anxiety Syndrome. This describes the uneasy feeling some of us get when we’re without our phones. I have to say, however, sometimes I purposefully go without it when I’m on a simple outing and it feels freeing, almost nostalgic. But the BabyCenter research explains:

    “Smartphones provide Mom with much-needed access to friends, family, and the outside world  when she might otherwise be restricted by her children’s schedules,” says Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and BabyCenter.com contributor. “Two in three (66%) moms reported that their smartphone helps reduce the isolation of motherhood and more than half said it brings her closer to others.”

    Sixty-nine percent of moms said that they love their smartphone and 46% said they’re addicted to it. Smartphones are so vital to Mom’s daily life that she checks it at every possible opportunity: while on the go (96%), shopping (95%), when watching TV (94%), in the car (94%), in the kitchen (91%), and in the bathroom (80%).

    “Smartphones can be an important coping mechanism, as moms, especially new moms, may find difficulty adjusting to their new lives,” adds Ludwig. “However, the extreme dependence on smartphones and mobile devices can become a complex syndrome, with characteristics similar to obsessive-compulsive disorders.”

    None of this surprises me. Only my own crazy behavior surprises me, like when I check email during a TV show I actually enjoy or I bring my phone with me when I go in another part of the house.

  • We aren’t ready to go mobile-only. 58% of moms use their smartphone to read email, but 57% prefer the larger keyboard on their laptop for writing and responding to messages. And, it’s fun to watch videos on the go, but that big honking screen in the living room is still well-loved.

Are you an addict? Or can you not comment because you’re reading this on your mobile phone and it’s too much effort? If that’s the case, just hit the Like button below, and I’ll know what you mean.

Next question for researchers: Is any of this impacting Mom’s ability to focus on her parenting tasks when she’s with her child? And how can we measure this?

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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