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posted: 8/20/2011 6:07 AM

Survey: Cellphones a lifeline, boredom staller

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  • Most Americans, 83 percent, own some type of mobile device. And 13 percent of us have used it to dodge human interaction.

      Most Americans, 83 percent, own some type of mobile device. And 13 percent of us have used it to dodge human interaction.
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Associated Press

NEW YORK -- If you've ever used a fake cellphone conversation to avoid real-life interactions, you're not alone.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project says that 13 percent of adult mobile phone owners in the U.S. have used the old "I'm on the phone" tactic. Thirty percent among those aged 18 to 29 did that at least once in the previous 30 days.

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Just don't forget to silence your ringer first.

In all, 83 percent of Americans reported owning some type of a mobile phone. Of these, more than half said they have used their phones at least once to get information they needed right away. Mobile phones are also becoming tools for handling emergencies. Forty percent of cellphone owners said their phones helped in an emergency.

Phone also proved useful when staving off boredom, as 42 percent of respondents said they used their phones for entertainment when they were bored. The study did not ask whether that meant playing "Angry Birds" or that old standby from the 1990s, "Snake."

It's not that phones are all fun and games, though. Twenty percent of cellphone owners said they experienced frustration because their phone was taking too long to download something, and 16 percent said they had problems reading something on their phone because the screen was too small.

In a sign that we are getting increasingly dependent on our mobile gadgets: 42 percent of young adults aged 18 to 29 said they had trouble doing something because they didn't have their phone with them.

The national telephone survey was conducted among 2,277 adults from April 26 to May 22 in English and Spanish. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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