They may be annoyed by listening to others talking on their cell phones; nevertheless, Iowans have become one with their own cell phones, using them everywhere including public restrooms. The more rural the Iowan, the more likely they are to view cell phones as a necessity. Women in the Hawkeye state place a higher priority on safety and security than do men, and they view their cell phones as providing it.
That's what interviews with 400 Iowa cell phone users revealed in a survey designed to measure knowledge, attitudes and behavior of cell phone users throughout the state. A whopping 82.1 percent of survey participants say they carry their cell phones with them most of the time. Meanwhile, nearly half (43.1%) indicate they often are annoyed by having to listen to other people's cell phone calls. And most have observed cell phones being used in various public locations including restrooms (67.6%), restaurants (95.6%), cars (96.7%) and movie theaters (32.4%).
The survey-conducted for Verizon Wireless by Burton, Gordon and Associates-was comprised of a representative sample of all cell phone service providers in Iowa.
"This survey confirms what we suspected about cell phone usage here," said Tim Wolfe, district manager for Verizon Wireless in Iowa. "And that is, cell phones have become an integral part of Iowans' lives."
Forty-eight percent of rural cell phone users believe their cell phones are a necessity compared with 37.5 percent of Des Moines residents. Households outside Des Moines (24.6%) also are more likely to have at least three cell phones in comparison to Des Moines residents (16%).
Attitudes about cell phone usage varied by age, with 58 percent of Iowans age 60 and older reporting that they are often annoyed by having to listen to others calls, compared with only 38.8 percent of those ages 18 to 34.
Safety was a hot topic for women, who are more concerned about the role cell phones play in their security than are men-27.6 percent compared with 12.6 percent respectively.
When it comes to cell phone knowledge, a majority of Iowans are "No Frills Seekers." They prefer a basic, dependable phone (85.2%) as opposed to one with lots of bells and whistles. Just 58.7 percent understand only the basic functions of their cell phones.
A majority of Iowans fit the "Love 'Em, Can't Leave 'Em" attitude profile. They are addicted to convenience and mobility.
"A cell phone has become almost as important an accessory for Iowans as a wallet or a purse," said Wolfe. "You wouldn't leave home without it."
Most Iowans do not feel it is appropriate to use a cell phone in a restaurant or while driving. At least 6.7 percent of cell phone users admit to being "Cell Phonies"-having faked talking on the phone to avoid someone.