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Awkward interaction with a millennial? Blame smartphone dependence

AP Photo

AP Photo

Those who turned to their phones to avoid awkward family conversations during the holiday weekend weren’t alone, especially among millennials.

As highlighted by CNET, 40 percent of millennials admitted to using their smartphone to escape a family gathering, according to Bank of America’s “Trends in Consumer Mobility Report.”

Grouping all social interactions together, the report says that 44 percent of Americans use their smartphone, with 71 percent of millennials. Not surprisingly, the report dubs this category “escape artists.”

Awkward or non-existent family interactions could be explained by other parts of the report. Millennials prefer texting to in-person communication, one more way in which they differ from total respondents, who prefer the latter by 38 percent. For millennials, that number falls to 33 percent, as 40 percent of them prefer text messages.

Those tidbits are hardly the only reflection of how millennials use and have come to rely on their smartphones.

While a plurality of respondents, 33 percent, say they interact most with their significant other, that number for millennials is only 27 percent. The smartphone easily beats out significant others for 39 percent of millennials.

There’s also a separation anxiety without their smartphone, particularly for millennials ages 18-24. Forty-three percent say they are “bored,” while 39 percent are “anxious,” and 25 percent have a “fear of missing out” without their smartphone. Fortunately, 20 percent of them recognize it’s okay to take a break, saying they feel “relieved.”

These results are in line with previous studies of millennials and separation anxiety.

Curiously, younger millennials are less likely to quickly respond. While 33 percent of respondents think the appropriate response time is under 10 minutes, that number is 31 percent for those 18-24. Instead, a 33 percent plurality think within an hour is appropriate.

Smartphone usage wouldn’t be complete without emojis, which 91 percent of millennials use. And 24 percent use them in every text.

A recent study asked millennials to express themselves using emojis when told they were labeled as “narcissistic.” Emojis aren’t always the way to go, however, at least not when tackling issues like student loan debt, as Hillary Clinton learned.

A whopping 93 percent of the demographic take selfies, but it’s not just millennials. A majority or more of every generation are fond of them too, including 50 percent of seniors.

Self-perception versus reality is the most interesting find. Only 17 percent say they are on their smartphone too much, but when it comes to others, respondents believe 56 percent are.

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