52126

New Poll about Phones, Targeted Ads, Shows Why the 10th Commandment Is Important Today

Are the 10 commandments still relevant today? A Deseret News poll regarding this question revealed that the majority of Americans find the commandments still important today—with the exception of "Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy," which only 49 percent of Americans found relevant. In contrast, fewer U.K. citizens found the 10 commandments still important today with only 19 percent considering "Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy" relevant, 23 percent considering "You shall not use the Lord's name in vain" relevant, 20 percent considering "You shall have no other God before me" relevant, and 31 percent considering "You shall not worship idols" relevant today.

Interestingly enough, most (78 percent of Americans, 61 percent of Britains) viewed the 10th commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," as still significant in today's world. Why do people view this commandment, which was given millennia ago, as still pertinent today? Another poll from the Deseret News suggests cell phones and our consumer culture might have something to do with it.

A national poll from the Deseret News reveals new insights into how Americans feel about their mobile devices and the digital ads that are constantly served to them wherever they go.

Key findings include:

  • The number of Americans who worry that they spend too much time on their phone has more than tripled in seven years: from 11 percent in 2012, when Pew Research Center asked the question, to 36 percent in the new Deseret News poll.
  • Most people are not okay with targeted advertising (62 percent), but the number of people who are okay is up 10 points (from 28 percent to 38 percent) since Pew asked the same question in 2012.
  • People ages 18-29 are most likely to worry they spend too much time on their phones (50 percent of them say this). They are also most likely to be okay with targeted advertising (45 percent).
  • About half (55 percent) of respondents say they have taken an intentional break of a day or more from their phones.
  • Women and people ages 30-44 are least likely to have taken an extended break. People with more education are more likely to have taken a break.
  • Fifty-four percent of people say they know how to limit the amount of information websites collect about them. That’s increasing, but still only half the population.

While many consumers value the relevance of targeted digital ads, those ads may be fostering greater materialism and lower satisfaction in other areas of life. “Now, you think about material things more than you have in the past because you are confronted with it more regularly when you allow media to be part of virtually every waking moment of your life,” Ronald Hill, professor of marketing at American University, told the Deseret News.

So how does the 10th commandment relate to life in a world where consumers are continually bombarded by digital ads designed to make us feel dissatisfied? It provides perspective and a reminder that, despite constant stimulation and comparison cultures, we can find happiness in valuing what we have and all the Lord has blessed us with.

Concerns about the impact of technology on life quality are prompting many Americans to intentionally spend time away from their devices, a practice some refer to as a “digital Sabbath” or “tech Sabbath,” although it often has nothing to do with religion. President Russell M. Nelson has challenged members of the Church several times to take a fast from social media or any media that brings negativity, comparisons, or distractions into our lives.

For a detailed breakdown of survey findings, see the tables below.

Detailed Breakdown of Findings 

  1. Shift in Attitudes from 2012 (Pew survey) to 2019 (Deseret News survey)

 

2012

2019

Do you ever worry that you spend too much time using your phone, or do you not worry about this?



Yes

11%

36%

No

89%

64%

 

 

 

I’m not okay with targeted advertising because I don’t like having my online behavior tracked and analyzed

68%

62%

I’m okay with targeted advertising because it means I see advertisements and get information about things I’m really interested in

28%

38%

 

 

 

Are you aware of any ways Internet users like yourself can limit how much personal information websites collect about you, or are you not aware of any ways to do this?

 

 

Yes, I'm aware of ways to do this

38%

54%

No, I'm not aware of ways to do this

60%

46%


  1. Attitudes about Phone Time

Do you ever worry that you spend too much time using your phone, or do you not worry about this?

Age

All

18-29

30-44

45-64

65+

Yes, I worry

36%

50%

44%

26%

10%

No, I don’t worry

64%

50%

56%

74%

90%


3(a). Intentional Cellphone Breaks 

What is the longest period of time you’ve "unplugged" from your cellphone — that is, intentionally gone completely without it?

Age

All

18-29

30-44

45-64

65+

One hour or less

14%

13%

19%

9%

12%

Several hours

32%

33%

30%

34%

32%

One day

18%

18%

20%

18%

13%

More than one day

36%

36%

31%

38%

42%


3(b). Intentional Cellphone Breaks 

Gender

Women

Men

One hour or less

14%

13%

Several hours

36%

29%

One day

18%

18%

More than one day

32%

40%


3(c). Intentional Cellphone Breaks 

Education

High School

Some College

College Grad +

One hour or less

17%

13%

9%

Several hours

34%

32%

29%

One day

18%

19%

17%

More than one day

32%

36%

46%


4(a). Attitudes about Targeted Advertising

Age 

All

18-29

30-44

45-64

65+

I'm not okay with targeted advertising because I don't like having my online behavior tracked and analyzed

62%

55%

57%

64%

83%

I'm okay with targeted advertising because it means I see advertisements and get information about things I'm really interested in

38%

45%

43%

36%

17%


4(b). Attitudes about Targeted Advertising

Education

All

High School

Some College

College Grad +

I'm not okay with targeted advertising because I don't like having my online behavior tracked and analyzed

62%

61%

61%

71%

I'm okay with targeted advertising because it means I see advertisements and get information about things I'm really interested in

38%

39%

39%

29%

Lead image from Getty Images
Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com