Maybe it's CES overload, or maybe VTech just wants to sell more phones. According to a recent survey conducted by VTech and market research firm Toluna, Americans are feeling overwhelmed by the constant accessibility and influx of digital information in the 21st century.
In fact, when asked to rank the most stressful technology-related issues, consumers cited “being constantly accessible for work” and “keeping up with all the technology changes” as the top two sources of stress (33 percent and 20 percent, respectively).
You have to take the results with a grain of salt: VTech is the world's largest manufacturer of cordless phones. The survey also takes a shot at smartphones — one of the biggest product categories featured at CES and the hope of many electronics manufacturers for redemption. Nevertheless, some of the points of the survey are interesting.
The data overload issue hit closest to home for 25- to 34-year-olds. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) said that they now spend more time working because of today's technology capabilities. Yet the newest digital tools that keep consumers constantly connected also may be the least desired. When asked what they could “live without for a day,” 33 percent of survey respondents chose social networking, and 28 percent chose text messaging.
Other key findings include:
- Forty-four percent of 25-34 year-olds who own smartphones say they call others less often now, and 23 percent said they spend more time working, because they're expected to be constantly accessible.
- To whom do Americans vent their frustrations? Thirty-four percent said their significant other. If not to a significant other, respondents would rather keep things to themselves, and midwesterners are the most stoic (37 percent would rather keep things to themselves, more than residents in other parts of the country).
- Who do you want to “escape” from this year? When asked if there were any individuals they would want to lose in 2011, 36 percent said “a clingy friend I can't seem to get rid of.” And apparently, older adults have the clingiest friends — 55 percent of respondents above age 55 chose a “clingy friend.” Twenty-six percent of Americans wish they could avoid “an annoying co-worker.”
The solution? According to VTech, it's a simple phone call. I suppose that's a good idea, except for those of us who check our email and text messages on our laptops or smartphones while we are on the phone.