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Parents, men, young people more likely to use phone for searches

May 07, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • The iPhone helps users track down information and cultivate a reputation as a know-it-all.
The iPhone helps users track down information and cultivate a reputation… (Gina Ferazzi Los Angeles…)

Men are more likely to look things up on their smartphone than women. Wealthy people are more likely to use their smartphones for real time searches than poorer people. And less than 50% of people over 65 are using their phones for real-time searches, according to new data from the Pew Internet Report.

Researchers at the Pew Internet Report asked more than 2,254 Americans ages 18 and older to answer questions about how they used their mobile phones in the last 30 days.

For this study, they looked specifically at how people use their phones to answer immediate questions -- what the researchers are calling "just-in-time searches."

The questions on the survey were whether respondents use their phones to: Coordinate a meeting or get-together? Solve an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered? Decide whether to visit a business like a restaurant? Find information to settle an argument? Look up a score of a sporting event. Get traffic or public transit information? Get help in an emergency situation?

Some of the findings were obvious. Young people are more likely to use a cellphone for just-in-time searches than older people, with 88% of people ages 18 to 29 saying they had used their phone that way, compared with 76% people ages 30 to 49, 57% of people ages 50 to 64 and only 46% of people ages 65 and older.

But it was interesting to learn that 73% of men surveyed said they had used their phones for just-in-time searches compared with 67% of women.

Parents are more likely to use their phones for real-time searches than those who are not parents, with 75% of parents of minor children saying they used their phone in one of these ways, compared with 68% of non-parents.

One additional piece of information that may not be unexpected but still seems signficant: 31% of men used their phones in the last 30 days to settle an argument, compared with just 22% of women.

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