Technology Addiction

It is debatable whether most teens’ current usage of technology qualifies as addiction. Nevertheless, it’s clear that teens spend an enormous—and growing—amount of time plugged-in and screen-centered.

  • According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, young people aged 8 to 18 spend 7.5 hours a day consuming media—and that doesn’t count computer use for schoolwork. Thanks to multitasking (think listening to music while reading news articles or checking Facebook while watching TV) they pack 10 hours and 45 minutes of media content into that 7.5 hours. Two hours of that content is accessed via a mobile device.
  • The average teen of today rivals the telegraph operator of days gone by in sheer volume of messages sent. In 2012, teens sent an average of 60 texts per day, up from 50 texts in 2009. Those between 13 and 17 averaged a whopping 100 texts sent per day, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  • Just over half of all teens (51%) log in to their favorite social media site at least once daily, according to Common Sense Media.
  • Eleven percent of teens use Twitter every day. Twitter is exploding in popularity in the 18 to 24 age group, mostly thanks to easy access via mobile devices.
  • A 2011 report from market research firm NPD Group states that 91% of American youngsters between the ages of 2 and 17 play video games. Kaiser Family Foundation surveys indicate that the average amount of time spent playing video games is one hour and thirteen minutes per day.
  • Forty-one percent of teens with cell phones said that they would describe themselves as “addicted” to their phones, according to Common Sense Media.

--Liz Soltan