Three in five Brits admit using their mobile phones to get out of awkward social situations

In a typical year, mobile phones will save the average user from 187 socially-difficult circumstances

Grant Bailey
Thursday 21 December 2017 12:21
Comments
We should always be self-critical about what we mean when we talk about using some technology ‘for good’ (Re
We should always be self-critical about what we mean when we talk about using some technology ‘for good’ (Re

Millions of Britons are using their smartphones as a way to avoid awkward situations, a study found.

According to research three in five blushing mobile users have attempted to disappear behind a device when an embarrassing situation has arisen.

It also emerged in a typical year mobile phones will save the average user from 187 socially-difficult circumstances.

That tots up to more than 12 hours a year where our phones are used as embarrassment buffers.

Greg Tatton-Brown from Online Casino Casumo.com, which commissioned the study, said: "Our mobile phones are more than an organisational tool or an enhancer to our social lives. We also reach out for them when in need of some online entertainment or distraction.

"More than ever our devices provide us with a barrier from the real world when we need it.

"As well as occupying us when we are bored or keeping us connected to one another, our phones offer us a world to escape into – or at least provide us with a reasonable excuse to duck out of tough social situations."

Britons are most likely to reach for their phones while riding public transport to avoid eye contact with other commuters, and 17 per cent will make it clear they are on their phone when riding in a taxi so the driver won’t try to strike up a conversation.

Thirty four per cent will feel the temptation to lower their eyes to their phone when riding a crowded lift to break the tension, and a fifth check their notifications while patiently waiting to use a public toilet.

Three in five smartphone users would consider breaking out their mobile in the middle of a heated argument in order to take a breather from the situation, and one in two would resort to a scroll if a first date wasn’t going quite as planned.

For two in five anxious people checking their phone is the first thing they’d do to sidestep awkwardness.

When instinctively searching for a way to avoid an uncomfortable situation, people are most likely to default to checking their emails, followed by their text messages and Facebook notifications.

One in seven will fire up a mobile game to look busy and 15 per cent will open their web browser, even if they can’t think of anything to search.

Failing that nearly a third opt for staring blankly into the middle distance to pretend the whole state of affairs isn’t happening at all, and a quarter look down at their feet.

Twenty seven per cent of particularly antisocial mobile users have worn their mobile’s earphones – even when music wasn’t playing – in order to dissuade people from interacting with them.

And one in four have pretended to check their phone when the device was turned off or out of battery.

To up the cringe factor another notch, almost one in seven have been called out on their mobile-gazing behaviour by the person they were trying to avoid.

Almost nine in 10 Britons think the ubiquity of mobile phones has led to a decrease in face to face social interaction, and seven in 10 think we have become too dependent on our phones as a crutch in social situations.

SWNS

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in