75% US Teens Feel Happy or Peaceful Without their Smartphone

A report from the Pew Research Center shows that nearly three-quarters of US teens expressing feelings of happiness or peace when detached from their phones. The survey reveals that smartphone ownership among teenagers in the United States is nearly universal with a 95% of teens having access to these devices.

75% US Teens Feel Happy or Peaceful Without their Smartphone

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According to the survey conducted from September 26 to October 23, 2023, approximately 74% of American teenagers reported feeling happy, while 72% felt peaceful when they didn’t have their smartphones.

The absence of these devices also elicited negative emotions in some, with 44% feeling anxious, 40% upset, and 30% lonely.

The positive associations with going phone-free is the majority of teens have not taken measures to limit their phone or social media usage. Only 36% reported cutting back on using their devices.

Around 47% of parents reported setting limits on their US teen’s phone usage, while a similar proportion (48%) did not. Nearly half of parents (48%) acknowledged looking through their teen’s smartphone.

A finding was that 42% of US teens felt that smartphones made learning good social skills harder, while 30% believed they made it easier.

Arguments about phone usage were reported by about 4 in 10 parents and teens, with 38% admitting to sometimes arguing and 10% stating this happened often. Hispanic Americans were more likely to report frequent arguments about phone use.

Most teens believe that smartphones facilitate creativity, hobbies, and even academic success. Over 70% of US teens stated that smartphones provide more benefits than harms for people their age.

The findings come when a growing push by policymakers in the US and elsewhere to regulate the use of digital platforms by minors. Various states, including California and New York have taken legal action against social media companies.

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Nearly three-quarters (74%) of US teens feel happy when detached from their smartphones, while 72% experience a sense of peace.

A portion (44%) express feelings of anxiety when separated from their devices with 40% feeling upset and 30% experiencing loneliness.

About half of parents (47%) set limits on their US teen’s phone usage, with a similar proportion (48%) refraining from doing so.

Approximately four in ten parents and teens (38%) admit to arguing about phone usage, with 10% reporting frequent disagreements.

Parental monitoring of smartphone activity varies by the age of the US teen, with 64% of parents of younger teens (13-14 years old) monitoring compared to 41% of those with older teens (15-17 years old).

Forty-two percent of US teens believe smartphones hinder the development of good social skills, contrasting with 30% who believe they facilitate socialization.

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While 38% of US teens acknowledge spending too much time on their smartphones, a majority (51%) feel their usage is appropriate.

Recognizing the benefits of disconnecting, only 36% of teens report actively reducing their phone or social media usage. 39% of teens have cut back on social media use, while 27% perceive their usage as excessive.

Gender disparities emerge, with girls more likely than boys to believe they spend too much time on their phones and social media.

Most US teens (70%) believe smartphones offer more benefits than harms for individuals their age. A majority (95%) of U.S. teens have access to smartphones.

Teens attribute ease in pursuing hobbies (69%), fostering creativity (65%), and academic success (45%) to smartphone usage.

Parents prioritize managing their teen’s screen time, with 76% considering it important or a top priority. With 47% finding it difficult to regulate their teen’s phone usage.

Parental concerns are not unfounded, as half of teens report parental distraction by phones during conversations.

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