Don’t get too judgy, parents — teens aren’t the only ones with a screen time problem

New research shows that it’s not just teenagers struggling with screen time.

Today, ~95% of US teens have access to a smartphone.

how American teens feel without devices in hand by feeling and prevalence

That means a lot of arguments with parents about screen time, social media, and online safety. According to new data from Pew Research Center, technology use is affecting the whole family:

  • Nearly 40% of parents and teens report regularly arguing about phone screen time.
  • Forty-six percent of teens say their parents get distracted by their phone when trying to have a conversation, while only 31% of parents say the same.
  • Fifty percent of parents say they’ve looked through their teenager’s smartphone, and 43% say it’s hard to manage their teen’s screen time.

Amid all that commotion, some parents and teens are aware that it might serve them well to step away from the screen — 38% of teens and 47% of parents say they spend too much time on their smartphone.

Of course, experts have long been raising serious concerns about social media’s effect on children. The Senate recently held a hearing with tech CEOs to discuss the ramifications.

While legislation is slow to pass…

… change might first come from inside the home. As it turns out, some teenagers are not so interested in their phones — or, at least, recognize the negative consequences of being on them too much.

  • Seventy-two percent of US teens report often or sometimes feeling peaceful without their smartphones (while 44% say it causes anxiety).
  • Thirty-nine percent of teens say they’ve cut back on their time spent on social media, and 36% say they’ve lowered their screen time.

Don’t get us wrong, the numbers show that most teens are content with the amount of time they spend on their phones.

But those who are feeling burnt out by tech might explain some recent trends. Gen Zers have shown interest in outdated tech like flip phones, digital cameras, and even landlines; some are trying to ditch tech entirely.

Ultimately, 70% of teens think the benefits of smartphones outweigh the harms. So, buckle up parents — it appears the arguments will continue for the time being.

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