Commentary

It's True -- Many Teens Trying To Cut Back On Phone Use

While today’s teens might fairly be called the mobile generation, many are questioning the role that smartphones play in their lives.

In fact, a slight majority (52%) of U.S. teens report taking steps to cut back on their mobile phone use, according to fresh findings from the Pew Research Center.

What’s more, roughly nine-in-ten teens view spending too much time online as a problem facing people their age, including 60% who say it is a major problem.

To the delight of mobile-focused marketers, publishers, and content platforms, most young people are now glued to their gadgets.

Indeed, 56% of today’s teens associate the absence of their phones with one of these three emotions: loneliness, being upset or feeling anxious.

Moreover, 72% of teens say they often or sometimes check for messages or notifications as soon as they wake up, while roughly four-in-ten say they feel anxious when they do not have their phones in hand.

Yet, teens and their parents might be ready to push back.

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According to Pew, about two-thirds of parents say they are now concerned about their teen spending too much time in front of screens, and 57% say they have started setting screen-time restrictions for their teens.

For what it’s worth, plenty of teens think their parents are spending too much time on their gadgets. As Pew found, 51% say they often or sometimes find their parents or caregivers to be distracted by their phones during real-world conversations.

For its findings, Pew surveyed 743 U.S. teens -- or those ages 13 to 17 -- and 1,058 U.S. parents of teens, earlier this year.

Pew also found that boys and girls have different perceptions regarding the time they spend using various technologies.

Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to say they spend too much time on social media (47% vs. 35%), while boys are roughly four times as likely to say they spend too much time playing video games (41% of boys and 11% of girls say this).

Regarding mobile user and perceptions of overuse, Pew said it found no notable statistically significant differences by race and ethnicity or household income.

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