Our mobile phones have become an extension of our bodies. We have them with us always, but the action of carrying them with us constantly takes a toll on the phones. How often have you had to replace your phone because you dropped it? Recent research shows that typical Americans have had to replace their phones twice because of damage.
Forty-nine percent of Americans have broken or lost their mobile phone. But those who have had to replace the phone once are far more likely to have done it multiple times.
Who is leading the charge on broken phones? The award for the worst mobile phone owners in America goes to the millennials, those who range in age from 15 to 34. Fifty-seven percent of millennials have broken or lost their phones multiple times. They are twice as likely to drop their phones as other generations. Parents at 67 percent are also more likely to lose or break their phones than those adults without children (38 percent). Chalk this up to someone who might be a little distracted from having to care for those smaller, helpless little ones.
So, just for interest, how are these phones getting destroyed? Forty-three percent have been dropped in water and 42 percent gone through the wash. Throwing it comes in at 22 percent, dropping it out a window at 20 percent, and Fido chewing on it comes in at 20 percent as well. We are hard on this important piece of equipment. The list of how people have destroyed their phones reads like a comedy act. “Threw it at the wall when my team lost their sixth game in a row” or “dropped it when getting in the car and then ran over it” are some of the stories told.
How does this information impact our budgets? Judging from this information, we should invest in a high quality, impact-resistant case to protect these high-priced electronic devices. The cases aren’t cheap, but would be a good investment when you consider the cost of the phone at several hundred dollars and the average of 200 drops per year.
In addition, you have the option of buying an insurance policy when you purchase the phone. You should consider purchasing the insurance based on how careful you are with your phone. This is particularly important for those who have previously destroyed a phone. The numbers are against you, you’ll probably do it again.
A little bit of planning and mindfulness also helps in keeping the devices safe. Always keep it in the same place or same pocket. Be aware when you are around water. One of my boys kept his phone in his shirt pocket only to drop it in the mop bucket at work when he bent over to wring out his mop. Toilets are another reason to keep it somewhere besides in your back pocket.
Probably of greater danger is the number of times the phone is simply left behind. When you lose a phone, you may have left personal information where some crook can steal it and use the information included on the device. Make sure your phone is password protected to safeguard your information.
Let’s all work hard to care for and keep track of our smartphones. They are expensive to replace and it is hard work to reconstruct all those contacts.
Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is associate director of Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 907-474-7201.