A new study conducted by University of British Columbia (UBC) focuses on the relationship between age and smartphone use. The researchers reveal that older smartphone users depend more on their phone’s auto lock feature. People among this age group were also the ones who preferred using PINs to unlock their phones, while fingerprint was more preferred by the younger generation.
Among the elderly users, the researchers also observed that they unlocked their phone more often when it was stationary, such as when they were working at home or at the desk. The research study was designed to understand the unauthorized access on smartphones and also help phone companies to design products better, centering on demographic and gender specific usage of phone. It is one of the first kind of research that focuses mainly on relationship between age and smartphone use.
“As researchers working to protect smartphones from unauthorized access, we need to first understand how users use their devices,” commented Konstantin Beznosov, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UBC. “By tracking actual users during their daily interactions with their device, we now have real-world insights that can be used to inform future smartphone designs.”
Moreover, the study also conveyed that older users tended to use their phone less frequently in comparison to their younger counterparts. For instance, a 25 year old would use their phone 20 times in a day, whereas a 35 year old used it for only 15 times a day. The experts suggest that for every 10- year interval, there was a corresponding 25 percent decrease in the number of user session.
Furthermore, the scientists also segmented the group on the basis of their gender. According to the reports, men were more dependent on auto-locks. Women in comparison relied more on manually locking their phones. For the research the team targeted a group of 134 volunteers, ranging from 19 to 63 years of age. The research was conducted with the help of a custom app installed on android phones. The app collected data on lock and unlock usage, in addition to choice of manual and auto lock and if the phone was lock while in motion.
It was also observed that women on an average used their phone for a longer duration than men. Moreover, screen time of women in their 20s was greater than their male peers. However the screen time varied with age, men in their 50s logged longer than women of the same age.
“Factors such as age should be considered when designing new smartphone authentication systems, and devices should allow users to pick the locking method that suits their needs and usage patterns,” Beznosov said.