It should come as no surprise that many parents feel as though their kids spend too much time on their smartphones and other devices, but according to a new report from Pew Research, it turns out many of the kids may feel the same way about themselves.
Around half of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 are worried that they spend too much time on their smartphones, according to the report. Not only that, but 52 percent of teenagers have even reportedly taken steps to cut back on the amount of time they spend on their phones, 57 percent have taken steps to cut back on time spent on social media, and 58 percent have taken steps to limit how much time they spend on video games.
The report comes amid growing fears that users, and teens especially, are becoming addicted to their devices. And the report certainly seems to suggest that’s true — 72 percent of teenagers report checking for notifications as soon as they wake up, and 56 percent associate not having their phones with loneliness, being upset, or feeling anxious.
Tech companies have started building features into their devices that limit the amount of time people spend on their phones. Earlier this year, Apple announced that iOS 12, its next major smartphone operating system, would include “Screen Time,” a feature specifically aimed at helping users track how much time they spend on their phones. The feature breaks down usage by app, and allows users to set time limits on specific apps they feel they’re using too much. Google also has its version of the feature, which it calls Digital Wellbeing and breaks things down by time spent in specific apps. Digital Wellbeing also tracks notifications sent and allows users to set timers on their apps.
It’s certainly a strange position for tech companies to be in. On the one hand, they’re building products that they want to be as engaging as possible, but on the other hand, they’re now recognizing that digital addiction is a real issue. It will be interesting to see if and how major tech companies like Apple and Google continue to promote a healthy digital life while still pushing their own products.
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