Real Simple and The Huffington Post conducted a joint poll that asked more than 3,500 women how they find balance in an increasingly wired world. Unveiled today on RealSimple.com and The Huffington Post’s Screen Sense section and in the January issue of Real Simple, a special themed issue of the magazine dedicated entirely to life balance, the results of the 25-question survey found that women are ambivalent about the role mobile devices and social media play in their lives. Of the women polled, 47 percent keep their smartphones on their nightstands overnight so that they can check them first thing in the morning, and 5 percent of respondents sleep with their phones in their beds. During dinner, 56 percent of women keep their smartphones close enough to hear and 12 percent set them on the table. Seventy-six percent check their smartphones at least once an hour, and of those women, almost half sneak a peek every 15 minutes (or even more frequently), but only 27 percent of respondents say that they are addicted to their digital devices. “Technology can help simplify our lives, but it also places additional demands on our time,” said Kristin van Ogtrop, Editor of Real Simple. “As technology and social media become staples of our everyday lives, women are faced with the new challenge of how to regulate their use and avoid letting their smartphones control them.” Women have conflicting feelings when it comes to social media. When asked to choose from a selection of phrases describing how social media has changed their lives, respondents were evenly divided between positive and negative sentiments. They were allowed to choose multiple options, with the most popular selections stating that their lives are “more social” (17 percent), “more unproductive” (16 percent), “more interesting” (15 percent), and “more cluttered” (13 percent). While social media has proven to be both a help and a hindrance, the most popular answers regarding how respondents feel while using social media were “entertained” (19 percent), “informed” (19 percent), and “connected” (19 percent).
“What these poll results really show is that technology and social media play a critical but complicated role in women’s lives,” said Lori Leibovich, Executive Lifestyle Editor of The Huffington Post. “Technology keeps us hyper-connected, but it’s also a huge distraction.”The Real Simple and HuffPost survey found that 80 percent of respondents have considered leaving Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform at some point, and 41 percent of those respondents have actually gone through with it. When asked which social media platform they would choose if they could use only one, 57 percent of respondents picked Facebook. Despite mixed feelings, when asked if they would go back to the pre-Internet era if they could, 71 percent of respondents said no. Of the women polled, 39 percent admit to having checked their smartphones in the bathroom, and one woman even wrote in to say that she bought a waterproof case so she could check her news feeds in the shower. The bathroom isn’t the only place where women are logging on: 15 percent of respondents have checked their phones while at church, a wedding, or a funeral; another 15 percent during a play or a movie; and 13 percent during an important meeting. Forty-four percent of respondents say that text-messaging is their primary means of communication with close friends; 34 percent would choose to go a month without their best friend over a month without their phone. And almost half of respondents (48 percent) say that they would rather forgo sex for a month than be without their smartphones for a month. The poll had one particularly alarming finding: three out of four women admit that they have texted while driving. Of those, 39 percent say that they waited for a red light to text. Methodology: The 25-question poll, conducted online via Polldaddy by Real Simple and The Huffington Post from October 7 to 18, asked 3,583 women how smartphones and social media affect their lives. Most of the participants (75 percent) were over the age of 31, and about half (55 percent) have children. About Real Simple Real Simple ( www.realsimple.com) premiered with its April 2000 issue with a mission to provide inspiring ideas and practical solutions to help today’s busy woman navigate her everyday life. Throughout its 14-year history, Real Simple has been a leader in understanding the modern woman. The brand creates a community in which consumers can share their ideas and learn about women like themselves. With a monthly print magazine, a robust website, tablet editions, mobile apps, licensed products, books, special issues, and a strong social media presence, Real Simple enjoys an unrivaled monthly audience of 10 million. Real Simple is published by the Time Inc. Lifestyle Group, a division of Time Inc., the largest magazine media company in the United States. About The Huffington Post The Huffington Post ( www.huffingtonpost.com) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning online source of breaking news, features, and entertainment, as well as a highly engaged online community for opinion and conversation. The Huffington Post has 46 million monthly U.S. unique visitors and 78 million monthly global unique visitors (as reported by comScore, August 2013), who collectively post over 8 million comments each month. The site has over 50,000 bloggers—from politicians, students, and celebrities to academics, parents, and policy experts—who contribute in real time on the subjects that they are most passionate about. The Huffington Post has editions in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, the Maghreb, and Germany. The Huffington Post is part of AOL Inc. (traded on the New York Stock Exchange as AOL).