In March 2006, the Pew Research Center and Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted a telephone survey to determine how Americans use cell phones. An October 2004, Pew Research Center study revealed that 66% of all Americans own cell phones. Not surprisingly, they found that young adults, between ages 18 and 29 are more likely to use extra features, such as personalization and text messaging, on their cell phones.

Although 74% of those interviewed admitted that they have used their cell phone in emergency situations, 29% said they could live without their cell phone. In addition, 55% said they would not give up their landline and go completely wireless. In fact, those who said they were more likely to give up their landlines were “disproportionately male, under the age 30, nonwhite, and from households with modest amounts of income (earning less than $30,000).” This is not surprising given the fact that it can be costly to maintain both a cell phone and landline.

Here are some other interesting findings:

  • 86% of cell users report being irritated at least occasionally by loud and annoying cell users who conduct their calls in public places.
  • 24% of cell-using adults report they often feel they have to answer their cell phones even when it interrupts a meeting or a meal.
  • 22% believe that too many people try to get in touch with them because others know they have a cell phone.
  • 52% say they keep their cell phone on all the time and 81% of cell users say the device is always on.
  • 21% of cell owners say they are not always truthful about exactly where they are when they are on their cell phone.

I can relate to all of the above statements. My friends have accused me of being a slave to my cell phone. It’s a problem because I usually answer my calls. When I don’t answer or return my calls within a certain time frame, people begin to worry or become suspicious. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who feel obligated to answer, even during the most inconvenient times. If I don’t answer my mother’s phone call, I have to hear her complain about how I am avoiding her. I am also guilty of always leaving my cell phone on.  My excuse is, “what if its an emergency?”.  For these reasons, I believe that cell phones are a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing in emergency situations or when you want to be available, and a curse when you want to be left alone.

Although I have been accused of being addicted to my cell phone, I still have a landline (which I hardly ever use).  I guess it’s because I am nervous about being completely dependent upon my cell phone.  There are times when I do not get reception in my apartment, or that I need to charge my cell phone’s battery.  For these times, I want to know that I have a back-up in the event that I really need to place a call.