Shocking: 65% of Teens Wish They Could Curb Their Smartphone Use

A new national survey conducted by Screen Education finds that teens are so troubled by their smartphone addiction that they want to reduce their screen time.

Screen Education is a non-profit organixation dedicated to mitigating the negative consequences of screen addiction through research, education, and consulting.

According to the survey results, 65% wish they were better able to self-limit the time they spend on their smartphone. Also:

  • 68% have attempted to reduce the time they spend on their smartphone.
  • 26% wish someone would limit the time they spend on their smartphone for them.
  • 37% have tried to persuade a friend to reduce the time they spend on their smartphone.
  • 53% of those who attend schools that ban smartphones in class are glad they do so.

The 46-question survey — conducted by Screen Education with support from EMI Research Solutions and Stark Statistical Consulting — involved 1,017 13- to 18-year-olds from grades 7-12, and had a margin of error of + or – 3%. EMI Research Solutions fielded the online survey from April 18-25, 2018.

According to Michael Mercier, President of Screen Education, “It’s time for bold action to address teen smartphone addiction. These kids know their phones are compromising so many aspects of their lives, and they want help.”

Mercier said there are two ways to help: “we can find ways to impose reasonable limits on their screen time, and we can cultivate within them the ability to self-limit their screen time. This will require that we transform our cultural norms regarding screen time, which we most certainly can do.”

In addition to revealing teens’ desire to reduce screen time, the survey also generated very concerning findings regarding numerous other smartphone-related issues, including the following: notifications; online bullying, gossip, and drama; productivity; socializing; compulsive screen use; the learning environment at school; and academic performance.

For example, the survey revealed the following about online bullying:

  • 36% witness online bullying every week.
  • 31% have seen online bulling result in physical violence.
  • 73% feel that social media use contributes to conditions that can result in school shootings.
  • The survey revealed the following about smartphone addiction and productivity:
  • 35% say they don’t do something they should do – every day — because they spend time on their phones instead.
  • 30% say they don’t do something they’d like to do – every day — because they spent time on their smartphone instead.
  • 41% say phones are an obstacle to getting the best grades they can at school.

Other findings include the following:

  • 41% feel overwhelmed by their notifications — every day
  • 69% wish they could spend more time socializing with close friends face-to-face, and less time socializing online
  • 32% want to stop using their phone, but find themselves unable to do so — every day
  • 72% witness students using phones during class — every day — to watch videos, play games, or use social media (35% do not consider this to be rude behavior)

Screen Education works with educators and schools, and has a particular focus on helping members of Gen Z break their addiction to smartphones.

To download the report, and to sign up for the June 28 webinar presentation of findings, visit

To learn more about Screen Education, visit

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