United States

3 In 4 Teens Feel Happy Without Smartphones, Yet Struggle With Dependency: US Survey Reveals

The impact of smartphone dependency among teenagers in the United States has come under scrutiny, as a recent survey reveals conflicting sentiments towards digital media. Despite many teens reporting happiness without smartphones, concerns persist regarding excessive usage and its effects on mental well-being.

AP
Social Media Dependency Of Teenagers Photo: AP
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A survey has revealed that nearly 75% of teenagers in the United States report feeling happy or peaceful when they are without their smartphones. This underscores worries regarding the impact of digital media on young people.

However, despite the positive feelings associated with setting aside their smartphones, only 36 percent of teenagers indicated that they had reduced their device usage, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center released on Monday.

In total, 38 percent of teenagers stated that they spend too much time on their smartphones, while 51 percent indicated that their usage was "about right." Girls were more inclined than boys to perceive their smartphone use as excessive.

Teens expressed similar experiences with social media, with 39 percent stating they had decreased their exposure, while 27 percent acknowledged excessive usage.

Regarding the acquisition of social skills, 42 percent mentioned smartphones had made it more challenging, in contrast to 30 percent who believed they aided in this aspect.

The survey also revealed that a notable portion of teenagers encounter negative emotions when they are separated from their devices. Approximately 4 in 10 teens admitted feeling anxious, upset, or lonely sometimes when they don't have their smartphones with them.

These results emerge against the backdrop of increasing efforts by policymakers in the US and other countries to implement regulations concerning minors' usage of digital platforms.

Last year, over 40 US states announced a lawsuit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, alleging that the tech giant has harmed children's mental health by incorporating addictive features into its platforms.

In January, during an appearance before the US Senate, Meta's Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, issued an apology to families who claimed that their children had suffered adverse effects due to the company's platforms.

Legislation targeting the reduction of children's exposure to harmful online content has been passed by several US states, including Texas and Florida, as well as by the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Canada recently joined the movement toward increased regulation of tech companies by introducing the Online Harms Act last month. This legislation would mandate platforms to implement features like parental controls and safe search settings to safeguard children.

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