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"Honestly, my phone is the center of everything I do. I lost my phone and I couldn't function for 10 days"Vanisha, 22, The Love Network

There are 2.53 billion smartphone users worldwide. 96% of 16-24 year olds in the UK own a smartphone. 90% of Irish people have access to a smartphone. On average, we check our phone 57 times a day, often within 5 minutes of waking up. We love our smartphones so much that we let them sleep next to us in our beds, and 60% of us even check on them in our sleep during the night. But is the relationship beginning to sour? This week, The Youth Lab investigates the evolving relationship between youth and their smartphones.
71% of Youth Culture Uncovered respondents admitted that they 'would find it difficult to go about my day to day life without my phone’. 37% went so far as to agree that 'their phone is a part of who they are.'

It's no secret that in the last decade the smartphone has infiltrated near every aspect of our lives. Now, young people are beginning to understand why barriers need to be reinstalled. It's affecting how we feel, and how we relate to other REAL-LIFE, IN-THE-FLESH humans.

"I'm on my phone quite a lot and I think it does affect the mood - especially in groups of people - I know when I was away last week - there was no signal in Georgia - you do a lot more talking - not only to your friends, but to the people you met over there as well. You actually talk more as opposed to being on your phone, staring, looking at the same thing the person 2 foot away is looking at"Ciaran, 28, The Love Network

Young people increasingly want to spend their time 'well', which for many breaking the bond with their phone, whether that means deleting apps, charging their phone outside of their bedroom, or even enforcing a phone curfew. 42% of respondents in Youth Culture Uncovered admitted that they had tried and failed to spend less time on their phone. There is a clear desire among young people to de-screen, but they are finding it difficult. But there is hope...
Nature, the long-time antidote to the hectic nature of modern times, has reemerged as the ultimate soother for young people seeking a break from digital infiltration. Now, people only spend about 5% of their time outside– this includes commuting to work. By comparison, we spend about 50% of our time in front of a screen – longer than we do sleeping.

As a result, young people are consciously refocusing on themselves and seeking therapeutic calm away from screens, in nature;

"In terms of mental health, yeah definitely, try and go out for walks and get out and see things - fresh air - and not just sit at the computer all day - although it can be very difficult - for one, like I must go for a walk, otherwise I'll be in the house for like 18 hours and I've been staring at the screen"Aurora, 24, The Love Network


  • Though young people can easily be accessed through their phones, there is an opportunity to deliver a value exchange that enable off-screen time and experiences that go back to nature and more physical forms of existence. Facilitate switch offs, escape to nature and breathe.
Check out some of our previous insights.
The Farce Awakens: Pepsi’s Watershed moment for Mission Marketing
Not Keeping Quiet...
The New Resistance

The Youth Lab is the insights and trends division at Thinkhouse, the youth marketing agency. 
For more insights, connect with The Youth Lab at

For weekly insights into the beliefs, habits, loves, hates, passions and hopes of today’s 18-35 year olds, sign up for 52 Insights here:

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