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Monday, August 15, 2022

Mobile phone inventor tells phone addicts to ‘get a life’

Martin Cooper, Mobile phone inventor

The inventor of the mobile phone has suggested that people who spend too much time on the device may want to rethink their priorities.

Martin Cooper, a 93-year-old American engineer, was appearing on BBC Breakfast when he suggested people should stop scrolling and ‘get a life’.

Cooper led the team at Motorola responsible for the development of the first ever mobile phone in the 1970s. In 1973, he became the first person in history to make a handheld cellular phone call in public.

Now widely credited as the ‘father of the cell phone’ he admitted he actually doesn’t use the device all that much.

Mr Cooper explained during the interview that he probably spends less than 5 per cent of his time on his phone.

Martin Cooper holds up his mobile phone in Oviedo, northern Spain, October 22, 2009. Cooper and Raymond Samuel Tomlinson will be awarded the 2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research at a traditional ceremony on Friday in the Asturian capital. Cooper and Tomlinson were nominated for the award in recognition of their research which led the development of the mobile phone and email respectively. QUALITY FROM SOURCE REUTERS/Felix Ordonez (SPAIN SCI TECH SOCIETY BUSINESS) - GM1E5AM1LBS01
Martin Cooper worked at Motorola in the 1970s and invented the first mobile phone. (Credits: Reuters)

When asked what he would say to those who spend upwards of five hours on theirs, he was incredulous.

‘You really spend five hours a day?’ he asked. ‘I would say “get a life!”.

How much time do we spend on our phones?

Whether keeping in touch with friends and family, doomscrolling Twitter or staying entertained with endless TikTok videos, phones are definitely an essential.

But with that said, you may still be surprised to learn that over our lifetimes we’ll spend almost a decade on our phones.

A study by WhistleOut surveyed 1,000 American smartphone users to see just how much time we spend on our phones and the results are staggering.

Close-up shot of a young Asian woman scrolling on smartphone, managing banking online, underneath duvet in the dark.
We spend almost a decade of our lives on our phones, according to one survey. (Credits: Getty Images)

The survey found that millennials (born 1981-1996) spend almost a quarter of their waking lives on their phones, taking up 23.1% of their day.

That figure drops to 16.5% for Generation X (born 1965- 1980) and is even lower for Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), with 9.9% of their waking hours spent scrolling.

In the study, researchers also calculated the average number of hours a day we spend on our phones, which also varied heavily between generations.

The average screentime per day for millennials is at 3.7 hours, Gen X spend an average of 3 hours and Boomers are again the lowest at 2.5 hours.

Close up of woman's hand using smartphone in the dark, against illuminated city light bokeh
How much time do you spend on your phone? (Credits: Getty Images)

By totting up the figures, WhistleOut were able to estimate that the average phone user, over the course of their life, will spend 8.74 years on their phones.

But they explain that, particularly for millennials who were among the first people to grow up with this technology, a lot of phone usage is down to tech-focused jobs they’re in.

Still, if you want to follow Mr Cooper’s advice and put the phone down, there are a number of ways you can try to reduce your own screen time.

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