Around half (54 percent) of teens ages 13 through 17 worry they spend too much time on their mobile phones, while around 52 percent of the 743 US teens polled by Pew in March and April have already taken steps to cut back on their phone use.
“As they look at their own lives and those of their peers, most teens see things that worry them,” Pew Research Analyst Jingjing Jiang wrote in the report. “Roughly nine-in-ten teens view spending too much time online as a problem facing people their age, including 60 percent who say it is a major problem.”
Forty-four percent of teens said they “often” check their phone as soon as they wake up, Pew found. Some 57 percent “often” or “sometimes” feel like they need to respond to messages from other people immediately.
The report also found that “teens encounter a range of emotions when they do not have their cellphones, but anxiety tops the list.” Forty-two percent of teens feel anxious when they are phoneless while 25 percent feel lonely and 24 percent feel upset. Girls are more likely than boys to feel anxious or lonely without their phone.
A separate survey released in February by the nonprofit Common Sense and SurveyMonkey found that 47 percent of parents feel their child is addicted to their mobile device. Thirty-two percent of those parents said the same about themselves.
Tech companies are starting to take this issue more seriously. Apple’s iOS 12, available now in beta and slated for general release this fall, includes an app called Screen Time, which is designed to help you keep track of and control device and app usage. Google is developing a similar feature for Android, and Facebook recently introduced tools that can help you curb your addiction to its platforms.