Canadians very attached to smart phones



TORONTO ­ Are you a touch nomophobic?

Mendelt Hoekstra says he wouldn't go that far. But the 38-year-old St. Catharines resident said he can't imagine life without his smartphone.

"With the smartphone I can compartmentalize all my e-mails," Hoekstra said. "It's easier than jumping on my computer. It's mobile, it's so easy for me. It allows me to be in one spot and be in contact with five different streams."

Nomophohia, otherwise known as the state of stress induced by being away from your smartphone, is the subject of a new Rogers Communications and Vision Critical survey. The organizations paired to gauge just how tied we are to these pesky little devices.

According to the data, 65% said they felt naked without their smartphone and Internet access. Over half admit to sleeping next to the device and a whopping 82% use their smartphone in the bathroom.

"It's super handy," Hoekstra said, laughing. "The doors close, there are no kids, no people. You can really get caught up to date with what is happening."

Hoekstra said he can shut his Blackberry down without pangs of anxiety but understands the urge to be connected.

"When it's time for dinner I can put it away and have a great time with my kids for an hour," he said. "But when I go back to it, I know all my stuff is there."

Reade Barber, vice-president of mobile and fixed Internet at Rogers Communications, said the survey brought to light how passionate people are about their smartphones, even if some of our habits border on mania.

"Certainly, those are some extreme cases," Barber said, citing the questions about washroom smartphone use and sleeping with the device close by.

"I'm not a mental health expert," he said. "But I think what the survey is really showing is the mobile device is becoming a tool Canadians are depending on."

The survey also showed over half of all Canadians are more likely to reach for their smartphone before their toothbrush.

"That's me," Hoekstra said. "I check my Twitter feed, my calendar, where I need to be and who I need to see that day. Then I'm going to brush my teeth."

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