Young people ‘consider their mobile phone to be their best friend’ and would choose it over all other forms of electrical entertainment. So says the annual Mobile Life Report from the Carphone Warehouse.

The report is the latest stage of a research project started in 2006 looking at the impact of mobile phones on people’s lives. The fifth report titled, Mobile Life Report 2008: the connected world, questioned 6,000 people in the UK and US to explore the relationship adults and youngsters have with mobile and internet technology.

Dr Sorensen, senior lecturer in Information Systems at LSE said: “We found interesting similarities and differences in our study of two countries. Although we found differences in the use of email, SMS, instant messaging, and landline phones for staying in touch with friends and family between the two countries, we found no differences in the level of mobile phone use for these purposes.”

Europe and South-East Asia have traditionally seen much more advanced use of mobile phones than in the US. Mobile Life 2008, however, found that a significant proportion of North American youth is clearly engaged in intense use of SMS messages.

“The internet and mobile phones play an important role in breaking traditional barriers for engagement. There is an appetite especially amongst the youth across the two countries to engage, discuss, and communicate. This is reflected in over a third of the children in both countries nominating the mobile phone as their most important possession, while the adult generations were most likely to nominate the TV,” stated Sorensen.

The survey generally found a rich appetite for a variety of technology across the two countries, with UK respondents being slightly more likely to own a greater variety of technologies. There was also a strong desire in both countries to replace existing desktop computers with laptops, and little desire for people to limit the technology variety in their lives.