Teens Are Frustrated by the Problems Smartphones Cause

Survey: a majority of youth want help reducing screen time.

Posted Jun 23, 2018

Pexel
Source: Pexel

There’s no app for parenting teens online today—yet according to a recent PEW Research survey, 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone while almost half (45 percent), claim they are online constantly.  That’s up significantly from the last survey in 2015 when it was 24 percent.

A new national survey conducted by Screen Education finds that teens are so troubled by their smartphone addiction that they want to reduce their screen time

  • 68 percent of teens have attempted to reduce the amount of time they spend on their phone.
  • 89 percent of teens find it upsetting when they witness online bullying.
  • 36 percent of teens witness someone being bullied online weekly.
  • 73 percent of teens feel that social media contributes to conditions that can result in school shootings.
  • 45 percent of teens witness online drama everyday.
  • 38 percent of teens witness online gossip everyday.
  • 57 percent of teens are disturbed when they witness someone being gossiped about.
  • 42 percent of teens are fearful of being gossiped about.

This is a small portion of the results of the Screen Education survey.

According to the research, although teens want to take a break or even stop using their smartphone, they soon realize it's not possible. Many engage in what the Screen Education survey noted as "cycling."  

Cycling is the compulsion to consecutively go through a small set of favorite apps or sites to seek new notifications, at any opportunity, over and over again. Seventy percent of teens admit to have 3-5 apps or sites they continuously cycle through at any opportunity. 

Can schools and parents help?

Teens have always been a challenge whether we are a generation of technology or our parents' world with rotary phones and busy signals, however what hasn't changed is the fact that young people need and want boundaries.

The Screen Education survey revealed that 67 percent of teens attend schools that ban smartphone use during class and over half (53 percent) are grateful for this. Forty-one percent of teens admit that their addiction to smartphones is hurting them academically. Over a quarter of teens (26 percent) wish that someone (either their parent or school) would impose reasonable screen time limits on them.

What can you do to reduce screen time?

  1. Lead by example: What are your smartphone habits? Are you checking your emails while at the dinner table or with friends, maybe while talking with your teenager?
  2. Turn off notifications: Every beep, bell, ding or other noise from your gadget can be stress triggers, especially for a teenager. Majority of teens (58 percent) believe they have to respond to these notifications immediately. Forty-one percent of teens admitted feeling overwhelmed by notifications in general.
  3. Smartphone Contract: Maybe it's time to revisit a contract with your teen about screen time limits. From online bullying, academic performance and emotional well-being the survey noted that 80 percent of teens spend time on their phone after they go to bed. Losing this much sleep likely impacts their cognitive function, learning and more. 
  4. Device free time: Make a diligent effort to have family time when everyone is disconnected and without their devices. From short trips to the mall to long days at the beach or even weekends without digital interruptions. You design your weekly device-free family time.
  5. Online verses Offline: Make a habit (make it happen) to meet your close friends regularly face-to-face. Sixty-nine percent of teens wish they could socialize in person rather than online with their friends.

How will you start your digital detox?

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