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Half Of US Teens Report They Feel Addicted To Their Smartphones, Parents Agree

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Teens admit to having smartphone addiction, a new survey has revealed.

In a poll conducted by Common Sense Media, about 50 percent of teens believe they depend too much on their mobile devices. Similarly, 59 percent of parents know about their teen's addiction to smartphones.

The report includes interview data from 1,240 parents and their kids living in the same households and a meta-analysis of 18 research studies about Internet addiction and its overall impact on teens' health and development. The findings give an idea of how teens view their mobile device usage.

The poll [PDF] found that 50 percent of teens feel addicted to their devices, while 59 percent of parents are aware of this addiction. Of those interviewed, 72 percent of teens and 48 percent of parents admit the intense need to respond to text messages, social media messages and other notifications. It was also noted that 69 percent of parents and 78 percent of teens check their devices almost every hour. More than half (56 percent) of parents admit to checking their mobile devices while driving.

It is unfortunate that while both parents and children admit that mobile device use is straining their relationship, the action still persists.

The nonprofit agency initiated the study to understand the effects of technology on teens' social, physical, cognitive and emotional development and to identify areas where familial support may be given.

Common Sense Media CEO and founder James Steyer said that mobile devices alter how families interact with one another.

"What we've discovered is that kids and parents feel addicted to their mobile devices, that it is causing daily conflict in homes, and that families are concerned about the consequences," said Steyer. "We also know that problematic media use can negatively affect children's development and that multitasking can harm learning and performance."

Steyer added that society is similarly responsible for making sure that media use and smartphone addiction are addressed. When parents are armed with the right information, they can make responsible choices for their families.

Digital detox expert Holland Haiis said addiction to technology can happen to anyone.

"If your teens would prefer gaming indoors, alone, as opposed to going out to the movies, meeting with friends for burgers or any of the other ways that teens build camaraderie, you may have a problem," said Haiis.

Haiis suggested setting limits on Internet surfing to curb addiction. Social media posting should only be limited to three to five times a week. Haiis added that when there is an urge to check a mobile device, take a walk or exercise instead.

Curbing smartphone addiction would significantly improve a teen's well-being and development. For one, a past study has shown that teens who spend too much time on the Internet have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure later in life.

Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra | Flickr

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