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Pew Research: Over 70% of Teens Find Peace Without Phones, but Loneliness Lurks for Some

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Pew’s latest survey showed that three-quarters of teens feel comfortable without their phones at times. However, half of the teens said they also feel anxious without their phones.

Pew Research Center released new data titled, “How Teens And Parents Approach Screen Time”. The study examined how parents and teens react to how much time they spend on their screens, how it affects them, and how it feels without it.

Just 27% of American teenagers say they spend excessive time on social media. Four out of ten teens in the US spend too much on their phones.

The majority of women and girls (61.5%) said they had not tried to reduce their usage of social media or their phones.

The most telling statistic is the teenager’s feelings when he or she is not using their device. 74% of teenagers said that they are often or sometimes happy when their smartphones are not with them. 72% also said they feel peaceful often or occasionally when their smartphone is not with them.

The most troubling responses are feelings of anxiety and loneliness, both of which teenagers report feeling often or occasionally.

The older girls are more likely to be anxious when they don’t have their phone. This is true for the majority of girls aged 15-17 years (55%) and 15 points more than the next closest group of girls ages 13-14.

Children believe their phones are more beneficial than harmful, but 70% of them agree with this sentiment. Why? Around half of the respondents said it helped them “do better in school”.

Parents and teens have differing opinions on the use of cell phones by adults. The total number of teenagers who said that their parents are often or sometimes distracted when they have a conversation with their kids was 46%. Parents were less likely to agree, with only 31% claiming that they are too distracted at times to have a conversation with their children.

Parents still look through the phones of their teens, despite all of this.

Most kids and parents have also noticed that half of parents said they check their teens’ smartphones. According to the survey, 43% of teens are aware that their parents may be watching what they do on their phone. However, this figure could include children who are suspicious of their parents.

Pew surveyed 1,453 U.S. teens aged 13-17, along with their parents between September 26 and October 23, 2023.

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