The Mojo Blog

Distraction From Mobile Devices: Five Findings to Consider Now

Mar 13, 2020

We love our mobile devices when they put vital information effortlessly at our fingertips but get frustrated when they become a distraction—which can be daily, hourly, even constantly. To better understand these devices’ impact on users’ social lives, Mojo Vision recently surveyed over 1,000 American adults on their usage of—and feelings about—their mobile devices. Here are a few things we learned:

1. Distraction has become a problem.

Over half the users we spoke to—55%—said that their devices have become a distraction. This suggests that the scale balancing technology’s benefits and its disruptions seems to be tipping unfavorably towards the latter: as we watch moments unfold on a screen, the real world can get pushed into the background.

2. Relationships take the hardest hit.

Fear of missing out (or FOMO) can tempt us into unsafe behavior, such as texting while driving. But at greatest risk are relationships with other people. A majority of users said they felt device distraction has hurt the quality of our interactions (65%), that it keeps us from being present when needed (63%), and that it prevents people from communicating in person (62%). An overwhelming 92% of respondents said they were interrupted by technology during conversations every day. A significant number (31%) felt that technology has hurt our ability to connect with one another. If we’re going to stay in touch, technology needs to adapt to people and not the other way around.

3. Many users try going device-free.

One popular approach for reducing distraction is for people to limit their use of, or access to, mobile devices. Some cut down on the ever-present notifications while others will temporarily power down their devices or block specific apps for periods of time. Many have used mobile OS features or apps to help track, manage and control screen time. Specifically, 46% of users have tried setting phones or devices to send them fewer notifications, and 44% have set their phones or devices to “do not disturb” or a similar setting.

4. Subtraction doesn’t seem to work.

However, this “tech detox” strategy works less than half the time: 54% of users said subtracting mobile technology from their lives didn’t create the desired effect. 47% said they couldn’t abandon their devices at all, due to business needs or the powerful psychological pull of FOMO. 33% said restricting tech either didn’t help—or that it caused them to use their devices even more once they started using them again.

5. Users are hopeful for a distraction-free future.

Yet respondents are optimistic about new tech options to come. Though 65% of people think we will continue to rely on technology more and more, 50% of people predict that technology devices will evolve to fit our lives better, rather than people having to adapt their behavior to minimize technology’s distractions.

Device distraction is a problem. Invisible Computing may be the answer.

Even before Mojo Vision’s founding in late 2015, our team members have been researching ways to deliver visual data without requiring external devices, goggles, or glasses. Because it doesn’t distract users or the people they communicate with, we call the platform Invisible Computing. By allowing users to have eyes-up conversations with others without looking down or away at a device, we hope to reduce distraction and increase human interaction. It looks like an idea whose time has come.

For more information, download our report on device distraction and read more about Mojo’s Invisible Computing platform.