19 Apr 2024Read of the weekParents And Teens Clash Over Screen Time Usage

A Pew Research survey has revealed the ongoing tension between teenagers and parents regarding screen time, highlighting the struggle concerning adolescents' online freedom. Consequently, parents are seeking solutions to establish boundaries and safeguard their children in digital landscapes.

J’Nae PhillipsJ'Nae Phillips is an Insights Editor at Canvas8. After an early career working in fashion and media, her passion for culture and journalism grew and she made the transition to writing and editing full-time. She specialises in fashion, trends, cultural shifts and all of the good stuff that gets people talking.

Teenagers' screen time usage remains a source of stress for parents, encapsulating the modern struggle of balancing freedom with responsibility in the digital age. As technology becomes increasingly integrated into people's daily lives across generations, parents are grappling with the challenge of setting appropriate boundaries for their kids while allowing them to have a sense of independence. The omnipresence of screens presents concerns for parents ranging from potential addiction and distraction to exposure to harmful content. On top of this, the uncertainty surrounding the long-term consequences of excessive screen time is adding to parental anxiety.

Though disputes within families over tech boundaries are not uncommon, recent findings from Pew Research suggest that teenagers themselves are uncertain about their technology usage. While approximately four out of ten parents and teens acknowledge frequent arguments regarding phone usage, it would be overly simplistic to attribute this solely to teenage rebellion. Among teens, 72% express a sense of calmness when they are without their phones, contrasting with 44% who admit feeling anxious without them, indicating a complex dynamic with technology. Similarly, 46% of teens observe their parents occasionally being distracted by their phones during conversations, indicating a generational reliance on technology.

Across various age groups, people are seeking solutions to mitigate their dependence on technology. While addressing this has traditionally been viewed as a personal responsibility, there are now efforts from authorities to curb the negative impacts of tech addiction. States like Utah have enacted laws mandating tech companies to shield minors from addictive algorithms, and national legislation is being proposed to limit the data collection from teens by tech firms. Platforms such as TikTok have already implemented restrictions on teen usage, while a new wave of screen time management apps is emerging to assist individuals in controlling their smartphone usage.