June 6, 2012 / 1:52 PM / 7 years ago

Computers, sex trump mobile phones in global poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When given the choice, most people around the world would give up their cellphone rather than their computer and would prefer to live without social networking rather than television, according to a new global survey.

People attend a workshop on the first day of the 18th World Wide Web Conference in Madrid April 20, 2009. REUTERS/Susana Vera

In an Ipsos poll for Reuters of 19,271 adults from 25 countries, the older, more traditional technologies and pastimes come out on top.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said they would hold on to the computer and forfeit their cellphone if forced to choose between the two, and 58 percent opted to give up social networking rather than television.

Sex fared even better in the matchup. Nearly 80 percent of people said they would rather live without their phone, than give up sex.

“When people are forced to choose between two important things, a picture is drawn about values and priorities,” said Keren Gottfried, research manager of independent market researcher Ipsos.

The poll revealed striking differences by both sex and age, with women, and people younger than 35 much less willing than men, or those over 35, to give up their cellphones.

Nearly 40 percent of women said they would give up their computers, while just over 31 percent of men did. Just over 40 percent of younger people were ready to ditch their computer in favor of their phone.

Noting that research has shown that younger people are more likely to have advanced-capability smartphones, Gottfried said it could be expected that young people prioritize the newer technologies in the survey.

“Frequency of use of social networking is considerably higher among the young demographic,” Gottfried said.

The poll found similar variations in country-by-country results. Canadians chose computers over phones by 80 percent to 20 percent, but only 49 percent of Saudi Arabians did. South Africans were also divided, with 52 percent picking computers over phones.

People in Great Britain and France were most likely to choose television over social networking, while those in China and Turkey were least likely to do so.

When it came to choosing between giving up sex or phones, Gottfried noted it was “interesting that the results seem to perpetuate cultural stereotypes of sexual progressiveness and conservatism, with Latin America least likely to give up sex over their phones and Asia-Pacific most likely.”

The poll had a margin of error from plus or minus 3.1 to 4.5 percentage points.

Editing by Patricia Reaney and Maureen Bavdek

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