65% of Teens Wish They Could Curb Their Smartphone Use, New Screen Education Survey Finds

Teenagers on their cell phones

CINCINNATI  — 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:

  • 65% wish they were better able to self-limit the time they spend on their smartphone
  • 68% have attempted to reduce the time they spend on their smartphone
  • 26% wish someone would limit the time they spend on their smartphone for them
  • 37% have tried to persuade a friend to reduce the time they spend on their smartphone
  • 53% of those who attend schools that ban smartphones in class are glad they do so

The 46-question survey — conducted by Screen Education with support from EMI Research Solutions and Stark Statistical Consulting — involved 1,017 13- to 18-year-olds from grades 7-12, and had a margin of error of + or – 3%. EMI Research Solutions fielded the online survey from April 18-25, 2018.

“Teen Smartphone Addiction National Survey 2018”

Teen smartphone addiction is widespread, and a large number of teens are aware that Silicon Valley intentionally designs apps to be addictive. While social media has its benefits, it also can facilitate toxic exchanges that emotionally burden teens. Many teens witness online gossip, drama, and bullying very frequently, and they find this upsetting. Many teens feel overwhelmed every day by the large number of notifications they receive, and feel pressure to respond because most people expect them to respond immediately.

According to Michael Mercier, President of Screen Education, “It’s time for bold action to address teen smartphone addiction. These kids know their phones are compromising so many aspects of their lives, and they want help. We can help in 2 ways: (1) we can find ways to impose reasonable limits on their screen time, and (2) we can cultivate within them the ability to self-limit their screen time. This will require that we transform our cultural norms regarding screen time, which we most certainly can do.”

In addition to revealing teens’ desire to reduce screen time, the survey also generated very concerning findings regarding numerous other smartphone-related issues, including the following: notifications; online bullying, gossip, and drama; productivity; socializing; compulsive screen use; the learning environment at school; and academic performance.  For example, the survey revealed the following about online bullying:

  • 36% witness online bullying every week
  • 31% have seen online bulling result in physical violence
  • 73% feel that social media use contributes to conditions that can result in school shootings

The survey revealed the following about smartphone addiction and productivity:

  • 35% say they don’t do something they should do – every day — because they spend time on their phones instead
  • 30% say they don’t do something they’d like to do – every day — because they spent time on their smartphone instead
  • 41% say phones are an obstacle to getting the best grades they can at school

Other findings include the following:

  • 41% feel overwhelmed by their notifications — every day
  • 69% wish they could spend more time socializing with close friends face-to-face, and less time socializing online
  • 32% want to stop using their phone, but find themselves unable to do so — every day
  • 72% witness students using phones during class — every day — to watch videos, play games, or use social media (35% do not consider this to be rude behavior)

To download the report, visit https://www.screeneducation.org/teen-smartphone-addiction-national-survey.html.

Screen Education is dedicated to mitigating the negative consequences of screen addiction through research, education, and consulting.  To learn more about Screen Education, visit www.ScreenEducation.org.

Source: Screen Education


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