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Staying busy when nature calls: smartphone use on the toilet

Have you ever got to the bathroom, only to realize – in horror – that you don't have your phone? You’re not the only one who needs distraction in the bathroom. Most of us take our phones with us when answering nature’s call, according to NordVPN research. Yes, we actually did a study on this. Find out which country’s citizens need their phone on the loo the most, what they do, and who’s most likely to drop their smartphone into the toilet.

Sibilė Šimkevičiūtė

Sibilė Šimkevičiūtė

Mar 31, 2022 · 3 min read

Staying busy when nature calls: smartphone use on the toilet

Passing the time in the loo

If you take your smartphone with you when going to the restroom, you’re in the majority — 65% of all respondents said they take it with them to the loo.

Out of all the countries surveyed, Spaniards need technology the most. Nearly 80% of respondents in Spain said they entertain themselves with a phone in the john. While 42% admitted they do so often, 12% said they only do so sometimes.

Germany is at the rear end of the list — only 54% of respondents use their smartphone on the can. About 37% of Germans said they never do so, while approximately 9% do not own a smartphone.

In all the countries surveyed, phone use on the toilet was the most common among millennials (26-41-year-olds). Gen Z (18-25-year-olds) takes the second place.

pr smartphone usage in the toilet infographics 1

A scroll on the john

Scrolling through social media (53.4% of all participants) on the toilet is by far the most popular activity. It’s especially popular in Spain (64.8% of respondents) and the UK (61.6% of respondents).

Out of the countries surveyed, using social media is the least popular among Lithuanians (37.3% of respondents). They prefer spending their time reading or listening to the news (44.7% of respondents).

Out of the countries surveyed, Canada loves gaming the most. Nearly 40% of respondents spend their time playing in the restroom.

Americans are the friendliest of the bunch. Out of the countries surveyed, respondents in the USA are the most likely to reach out to their loved ones — 39.3% of them choose to call or message people while they’re on the toilet.

The Polish are almost just as social — 34% of respondents said they call or message people. They also enjoy watching videos or movies (31.1% of respondents), reading the news (37.3% of respondents), and using social media (49.4% of respondents).

Some choose to use this time to stay productive. For Germans (14.8% of respondents) and Australians (14.6% of respondents), this is the time to plan their day. Out of the countries surveyed, Germany and Australia do so the most.

The French split their bathroom phone time between various activities: social media (55.7% of respondents), gaming (33.3% of respondents), and reading the news (32.5% of respondents).

pr smartphone usage in the toilet infographics 2

Who had the most accidents in the bathroom?

Folks in the USA tend to be the clumsiest — 20.4% of respondents admitted to having dropped their phone into the toilet. Second place goes to the Netherlands — 16.9% unlucky respondents let their phone plunge into the depths of the toilet water.

Lithuanians were the least likely to let their phone slip — only 10.2% of respondents admitted to having such an incident. Germans are also unlikely to drop their phone — just 11.9% said they had.

Cybersecurity refresher

Occupying yourself on the loo is great — it definitely makes the time (among other things) pass faster. But make sure you’re staying safe. Here are our tips on protecting your phone on and off the john:

  • Keep apps and the phone’s operating system (OS) up to date. Don’t skip software updates.
  • Do your research. Never download unknown apps — read up on them first.
  • Avoid unofficial app stores. They’re more likely to contain malware-ridden apps.
  • Avoid using unknown Wi-Fi. And always use a VPN when you do.
  • Be vigilant. Don’t click on suspicious links, don’t give out your number to strangers, and be wary of unknown numbers.
  • Use a VPN. VPNs encrypt your data, providing you with protection against data snoopers and hackers. With the NordVPN app, you can secure up to six devices, and shield your browsing activity from prying eyes. The service also comes with our built-in Threat Protection feature, adding additional defenses against malware and intrusive tracking systems.

Online security starts with a click.

Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN

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