Your Kids Think You’re Addicted to Your Phone

The kids are fine. But the parents?

Since 2016, adults have been much more concerned about the time they spend on mobile devices, even though their teenagers worry less about their use, according to a new report from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the defense of children and the classification of the media. .

“If you’re worried about using your own device, which is a growing number of parents, you should be able to impart that wisdom to your children,” said James P. Steyer, the organization’s executive director. “That’s your job.”

The report, published on Wednesday and based on surveys of 500 couples of parents and adolescents, found that both groups have a complicated relationship with the devices and, of course, between them.

Most parents are concerned that their children are addicted to the devices, but about four in 10 teenagers have the same concern for their parents.

These are some of the key findings of the report:

Moms, dads and teenagers with cloudy eyes are everywhere.

The findings that Mr. Steyer and the author of the report, Michael Robb, said were the most concerning in relation to how parents and teenagers allow mobile devices to interfere with sleep.

“That’s important because we know that healthy sleep is associated with a series of positive outcomes and lack of sleep is related to a range of negative outcomes,” said Mr. Robb, principal research director of Common Sense Media.

According to the survey, conducted online and by phone in February and March, 26 percent of parents said they used a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, five minutes after sleep. The same party acknowledged that they woke up to check the device at least once during the night, while a slightly smaller part, 23 percent, said they used a device five minutes after waking up.

Rates were highest among teens: 40 percent said they used a device within five minutes of going to sleep; 36 percent admitted waking up to check a device; and 32 percent said they used a device five minutes after waking up.

“It’s a big wake-up call,” said Mr. Steyer, who, along with his wife and four children, sleeps with his phone in a separate room.

The study found that teens were more than twice as likely as adults to sleep with a phone in bed, with 29 percent of teens and 12 percent of adults admitted to the practice.

The findings of the survey were adjusted to reflect the demographics of the actual population of parents with adolescents. The margin of error was around 4.4 percent.

But their concerns are different.
Interestingly, Common Sense Media discovered that while parents feel increasingly attached to their phones, attitudes among teenagers moved in the opposite direction.

“It’s interesting and it’s unexpected,” said Robb.

This year, for example, 52 percent of parents said they spent too much time on mobile devices, almost twice as many as in 2016. Among teens, only 39 percent said they spent too much time on devices, a sharp decline 61 percent. .

The proportion of parents who felt “addicted” to their devices increased to 45 percent from 27 percent, while the proportion of teens who said the same dropped to 39 percent from 50 percent.

It was not clear why attitudes between parents and adolescents diverged, but Mr. Robb offered some theories.

Parents, he said, may be internalizing extensive news coverage about the repercussions of using smartphones. Children, on the other hand, may be suffering from normalization as fewer and fewer adolescents remember a moment before such devices were ubiquitous.

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