Put down that phone? Not likely, in an NJ glued to texts and emails
The days of picking up your landline phone (if you have one) to get in touch with far-off friends or family members are long gone. New Jerseyans by far prefer emails and text messages as everyday forms of communication, according to a new poll.
Nine out of 10 adult residents in the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey, conducted in mid-May, said they either text or email at least once a day. Sixty percent reported that they also used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on a daily basis.
"We find the frequency of checking varies considerably, with millennials the most tethered to their technology," said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind. "They check email and text messages an average of nine times an hour."
That number is below the average among all age groups of five checks per hour, with residents age 60 and over only checking their accounts about twice every 60 minutes. Somewhat surprisingly — though no one knows the reason for this — men check far more often, seven times each hour as opposed to four for women.
The low number for older respondents doesn't necessarily mean they don't have the proper gadgets; 76 percent in that older age group said they emailed or texted at least once daily.
"There's been this assumption that the older you are, the less likely you are to really have this technology at your disposal, but we're seeing that that's really not the case," Jenkins said.
Jenkins does believe the older crowd still puts a premium on personal interaction.
"It's clear that millennials value and enjoy their technology," Jenkins said. "However, there's been some interesting research that suggests our technology-connected world actually disconnects us from each other in some ways."
In the poll, which had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points, 57 percent said these updated forms of communication make life easier. Thirty percent said they make life harder, but that viewpoint stood solidly in the minority for every demographic in the survey.
Interestingly enough, those who said technology makes life harder still reported checking their emails and texts nearly five times per hour. Residents who believe their gadgets make things easier checked only slightly more frequently, an average of six times.
Patrick Lavery anchors and produces newscasts across all dayparts for New Jersey 101.5. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.