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Home / News / Culture Watch / How teens and parents navigate screen time and device distractions

How teens and parents navigate screen time and device distractions

WASHINGTON, D.C.Roughly half (54%) of U.S. teens are worried they spend too much time on their cellphones, according to a new Pew Research Center report released today. Some 52% of teens report taking steps to cut back on their mobile phone use, and similar shares have tried to limit their use of screen time social media (57%) and video games (58%).

The survey of 743 U.S. teens finds that teens experience a range of emotions when they do not have their mobile device. Roughly four-in-ten teenagers say they feel anxious when they do not have their cellphone with them. Overall, 56% of teens associate the absence of their cellphone with at least one of these three emotions: loneliness, being upset or feeling anxious.

Parents, too, are anxious about the effects of screen time on their children. A separate survey of 1,058 U.S. parents finds that roughly two-thirds (65%) of parents say they are concerned about their teen spending too much time in front of screens, and 57% report setting screen time restrictions for their teen in one way or another. However, 86% of parents are at least somewhat confident that they know how much screen time is appropriate for their child.

Still, some parents admit they also struggle with the allure of screens: 36% say they themselves spend too much time on their cellphone. Indeed, 51% of teens say they often or sometimes find their parent or caregiver to be distracted by their own cellphone when they are trying to have a conversation with them.

These findings are drawn from two surveys: one of 743 U.S. teens and another of 1,058 U.S. parents of teens, conducted March 7-April 10, 2018. “Teens” refers to those ages 13 to 17, and “parents” refers to parents of at least one child ages 13 to 17. This is the second report in a series of studies by the Center focused on teens and their relationship with technology.

Among the findings:

Boys and girls tend to have different experiences with cellphones, social media and gaming.

49% of girls say they feel anxious when they do not have their cellphone with them, compared with 35% of boys.
Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to say they spend too much time on social media

(47% vs. 35%).

By contrast, boys are roughly four times as likely to say they spend too much time playing video games (41% of boys compared with 11% of girls).

 

Parents and teens report varying levels of attachment to their devices.

72% of teens say they often or sometimes check for messages or notifications as soon as they wake up, compared with 57% of parents.
39% of parents say they often or sometimes lose focus at work because they are checking their cellphone, compared with 31% of teens who say they often or sometimes lose focus in class for that reason.
Similar shares of teens (57%) and parents (59%) say they often or sometimes feel as if they have to respond to messages from other people immediately.

 

To read the report click here: http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/08/22/how-teens-and-parents-navigate-screen-time-and-device-distractions/

 

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on our Fact Tank blog.

 

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