Jun 21, 2012 (10:06 AM EDT)
Smartphone Addiction Takes Hold Over Americans

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

Nearly all Americans are concerned about losing their smartphones, says new data compiled by Lookout Mobile Security. Lookout's Mobile Mindset survey found that 94% of Americans are worried their phone might vanish, with 73% saying such fears induce a feeling of panic and 14% saying such fears induce desperation.

The findings point to Americans' newest problem: Nomophobia, or the extreme fear of being without a mobile phone.

"Our phones are our lifeline, from sharing photos with social networks to shopping and managing bank accounts," said Alicia diVittorio, mobile safety advocate at Lookout.

Lookout notes that 58% of smartphone owners said they don't go an hour without checking their phones. That means a minimum of turning on the screen to see if there are any missed calls or messages. About half of American smartphone owners (54%) said they check their phones while lying in bed, both before they go to sleep at night and after they wake up in the morning. Too many Americans (39%) take their phones with them into the bathroom.

The findings show that we're rude: 30% of us check our phones during a meal. The findings show that smartphones make us prone to risky behavior: 24% of us check our phones while driving (don't do it!). This one slays me. Lookout says that 9% of Americans check their phones during religious services at a house of worship. C'mon, really?

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"Whether or not you think Americans are rule-breakers in general, it seems that our phones have become so essential to us that it prompts us to check our phones and use them at any time regardless if it could be perceived as rude or dangerous," wrote Lookout in a portion of the study.

The proliferation of smartphones and their adoption by U.S. consumers has accelerated this trend. This year, more than half of all mobile phones sold will be smartphones. Granted, many use them as business tools, life organizers, and communications hubs to help manage busy schedules and other facets of their lives. But we're doing so at the cost of our real human relationships.

"The findings establish that our attachment to smartphones is driving a new mobile mindset," said Lookout's diVittorio. "Our behaviors, emotions, and social interactions are impacted by smartphones, to the extent that they now play an important role in our value systems."

Of course, Lookout coyly points out that as fearful as people are about losing their smartphones, many still fail to take preventative measures to protect themselves and their data. Business smartphone users should, at the very least, password lock their smartphones and sign up for and activate any of the free smartphone tracking/finding services offered by smartphone makers.

More than 900 IT and security professionals responded to InformationWeek’s 2012 Strategic Security Survey. Our results cover a variety of areas critical to information risk management, including cloud, mobility, and software development. Download the 2012 Strategic Security report now. (Free registration required.)