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Young adults would rather share their toothbrush than their phone

Wednesday, June 1st 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Young adults would rather share their toothbrush with a friend than let someone else use their mobile phone, a new report claims.

Only 4.5% of those aged between 18 and 24 would allow a close friend access to their smartphone, compared to the 9% who say they would share their toothbrush.

According to the O2 Mobile Life Report, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults on their mobile phone habits, 15% of 18 to 24-year-olds would let a friend share their bed and 25% would share their clothes.

The thought of sharing a bath was the only thing less popular than sharing a smartphone, although 2% were still willing to do so.

Asked why they wouldn’t share their phone, 43% said they wouldn’t want others to see their personal messages.

Access to photographs (41%) was another cause for concern while 25% admitted that rude messages about friends, family members or colleagues would incriminate.

A further one in five (18%) said they were likely to have a sext or two saved.

O2 said the research shows the intimate nature of the relationships we’ve developed with our phones.

Almost a third (29%) of so-called millennials say they couldn’t be without their phone for a whole day and 11% admit to falling asleep holding their phone on a nightly basis.

Nina Bibby, O2’s marketing and consumer director, said: “Our research reveals that for everyone, but especially the younger generation, our mobile phones have almost become extensions of ourselves.

“They have become an essential part of our everyday lives and more fundamental than ever before. They influence how we think, feel and behave and are now the place where some of our most personal memories are kept.”

'A few germs'

The report shows it’s not just the younger generation that are attached to their smartphones.

Across the population as a whole, 19% couldn’t last a day without their phone and 20% admit to falling asleep with their phone in the hand at some point.

Our phones are capable of making us feel better about ourselves, the research shows, as one in five Brits (21%) believe they are more confident on the phone and 14% say the device makes them funnier.

9% of 18 to 24-year-olds name their phone as their best friend and a quarter (26%) would even describe their gadget as ‘an extra limb’.

For 7% of the population, their relationship with their phone is even described as ‘a lifeline’.

Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings said: “We're more emotionally – and physically – attached to our mobile phones than we ever have been before because they play an integral part of our lives.

“For the younger generation, it’s almost unsurprising that they’d prefer to share their toothbrush than their phone.

“Millennials have grown up with tech at their fingertips and have been reliably and relentlessly storing every element of their lives on their devices since they could pick them up.

“Our smartphones have become a vessel for all of our innermost thoughts, secrets and feelings – so of course we wouldn't want to lend them to a friend.

“With that level of intimacy stored on our mobiles, what’s a few germs on a toothbrush compared to the risk of your private life falling into the wrong hands.”

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