Jul 27 2016
In today’s society, smart phones, computers, and social media use are so ubiquitous that we can barely remember a time when we didn’t use them. But if you have teenagers or young people in your family, you’ve probably noticed that it’s difficult just to get them to look up from their screens. In fact, over-use of social media, smartphones, and excessive “screen time” can have serious health and long term mental health implications in youth, affecting everything from sleep patterns to concentration levels, exercise to social development.
But are we just overreacting? Isn’t it true that every parent in modern history has at some point lamented the changes in the younger generation, particularly when it comes to tech or popular culture? (Remember that not so long ago, parents thought that rock and roll music signaled the decline of civilization!)
In order to find out, we’ll dissect the data about teens and social media, smart phones, and screen time, and let you make up your mind!
Here are 35 shocking facts about teens and tech:
- On the average day, U.S. teens spend about 9 hours using electronic media like smartphones, tablets, and computers.
- That’s significantly more time than they sleep, spend in the classroom, or with family.
- That 9 hours doesn’t even count time spent using media at school or while doing homework.
- Even tweens (children 8 to 12 years old) spend an average of 6 hours per day using media.
- If you take out television and just count laptops, smartphones, or tablets, teens log an average of 6 ½ screen time daily, while tweens spend 4 ½ hours in front of their devices.
- Around the world, more people own a cell phone than a toothbrush! There are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and it’s estimated that about 3.7 billion own a mobile phone, while only 3.5 billion own a toothbrush.
- More than 5 million Facebook users are under the age of 10, despite the fact that Facebook’s terms and conditions prohibit anyone age 13 and under from signing up.
- According to Forbes, 95% of parents were aware their kids were using Facebook, while 78% actually helped them create the social media account!
- Studies show that “screen time” (using televisions, computer, smart phone and other electronic media) correlates with less sleep and poor quality sleep among teens.
- 24% of all U.S. teens admit to going online “almost constantly.”
- 83% of all teens 13-17 years old have a cell phone.
- 90% of those teens say they use their phone to text, sending an average of 30 texts per day.
- 72% of all U.S. adults use social networking sites.
- The average person spends 23 hours per week emailing, texting, and using social media.
- That’s almost 14% of their entire week, or more than 20% of their waking hours!
- FOMO! 67% of people are afraid they’ll” miss something if they don’t stay on their social media accounts all day.
- According to a study, 50% of respondents say that using social networks like Facebook and Twitter makes their lives worse.
- A big part of that is because they say their self-esteem suffers when they compare their own accomplishments to those of their friends online.
- 66% of people say they have trouble relaxing or sleeping after spending time on social media networks.
- 25% said they suffered work or relationship difficulties due to online confrontations.
- 50% of people report feeling “worried or uncomfortable” when they can’t access their Facebook, email, or social media accounts.
- Why is social media so addictive? A Harvard University study reveals that when users self-disclose on social media, it activates a part of the brain called the Nucleus Accumbens that triggers development of addictions, no different than how the brain responds to cocaine or other drugs.
- When Boost Mobile conducted a study of 500 males and females between 16 and 25 years old, they found that:
- 50% confessed that they were addicted to social media, while 60% of those addicted were female.
- 68% admitted to checking their social media accounts at least 10 times per day.
- 31% used their social media accounts while on the toilet!
- 45% said that meal times were the most popular for checking social media.
- Those 15-19 years old spend 3 hours a day on social media, while 20-29 year olds spend 2 hours daily online.
- Even 30% less time on social media would give you an additional 7 hours for exercise, homework, family time, or more sleep!
- About 50% of teens say they often or sometimes get on social media or watch television while doing their homework. To add additional distractions, 60% of teens say they text and 75% listen to music while doing schoolwork at home.
- Girls spend an average of 40 minutes longer every day on social media networks than boys.
- Girls prefer photo-driven social media sites like rapidly growing Instagram and Snapcaht. In fact, 70% of all Snapchat users are female.
- 54% of all tweens (ages 8-12) have their own tablet like an iPad, on top of the large number that own a cellphone.
- 46% of daily screen time for teens is on smartphones, while 41% of screen time for tweens is on their smartphone.
- Numerous studies show that increased screen time and social media use can culminate in detrimental health and mental health effects for teens, like:
- Cyber bullying
- Social Anxiety
- Fatigue and Stress
- Emotion Suppression
- Peer Pressure
After reading these statistics, what do you think? Will you start monitoring your teen’s social media and tech device usage, or even take them away for certain