A new study from the University of British Columbia has found that not all of us block our phones the same. Depending on our age, we rely more on some methods or others.
The study is the first to explore the link between age and smartphone use, says Konstantin Beznosov, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UBC who oversaw the research.
“As researchers working to protect smartphones from unauthorized access, we must first understand how users use their devices,” said Beznosov. “By tracking real users in their daily interactions with their device, we have truthful information that can be used to improve future designs.”
The results are that older users tend to rely more on the automatic locking feature of their phones compared to younger users. They also prefer to use codes before the fingerprint to unlock their phones.
The researchers also found that older users are more likely to unlock their phones when they are in a fixed place, such as when they work at a desk or sit at home.
For this study, 134 volunteers, from 19 to 63 years of age, were monitored through a personalized application installed on their Android phones. For two consecutive months, the application collected data on lock and unlock events, the option of automatic or manual lock and if the phone was locked or unlocked while it was in motion. The application also recorded the duration of user sessions.
Thanks to this, the analysis also showed that older users used their phone less frequently than younger users. For each 10-year interval in age, there was a corresponding 25 percent decrease in the number of user sessions. In other words, a 25-year-old can use his phone 20 times a day, but a 35-year-old only uses it about 15 times.
The study also found gender differences in authentication options. As they age, men are much more likely to rely on self-locking instead of manually blocking their devices than women.
In terms of general use, women on average use their phone longer than men, while 20-year-old women use their smartphones significantly longer than their fellow men. However, the balance changes with age, since 50-year-old men record longer use sessions than women of the same age.