Consumer Electronics

Teen Mobile Device Addiction May Impact Family Relationships

06 May 2016

In what will probably come as a surprise to no one, teenagers are addicted to their mobile devices. But what may be surprising is the impact this addiction is having on the family unit and something that will likely be an issue for many years to come with an ever-increasing barrage of the latest and greatest mobile devices being offered by electronics companies.

A new study by Common Sense Media says not only do parents and most teens believe they are addicted to their mobile devices, but that this addiction is causing friction among the family resulting in possibility of these relationships getting damaged.

The study, which polled 620 parents and 620 teens, says 59% of parents believe their children are addicted to mobile devices, and 50% of teens believe they are addicted to their devices. Of those polled, 36% of parents say they argue about device use on a daily basis, 43% say they argue on a less frequent basis and 21% say they never argue over device use. Meanwhile, 32% of teen respondents say they argue daily about device use, 38% say they argue less frequently and 30% say they never argue.

A larger difference was seen in whether distraction comes into play when using mobile devices. Of those polled, 77% of parents believe teens get distracted by devices and don’t pay attention when they are together, while only 41% of teens say this is the case. Luckily, both sides agree that so far, mobile devices have made no difference in their relationship or have even helped in their relationship, with 85% of parents agreeing and 89% of teens agreeing to this statement.

“The poll paints a changed portrait of family life in 2016. A significant minority of families seems to be truly struggling to integrate mobile technology in a healthy way,” says James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Commons Sense Media. “And many concerning behaviors and outcomes are associated with mobile use. But the generational gap revealed in the different behaviors of teens and their parents raises the question of whether we may be too quick to label as 'addiction' something that is actually a normal adaptation to rapidly and constantly evolving social norms.”

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