Addicted to Cell Phones


By Celeste Beley

Most of us can’t imagine being separated from our mobile devices. For older generations, that may be easier to imagine since mobile devices haven’t been around that long. But to teens who have grown up constantly connected to the internet and each other via cell phones, iPads and other devices, that’s a harsh reality they may not be prepared to face.

A new poll by Common Sense Media found that 50 percent of teens believe that they are addicted to their mobile devices. The poll interviewed 1,240 children, ages 12 to 18, and their parents. Of those parents, a larger number, 59 percent, thought their teens were addicted to their phones.

What is technology addiction?

But how many teens are really addicted? It’s hard to say. Technology addiction is a rather new phenomenon but is defined by as “a serious problem involving the inability to control use of various kinds of technology, in particular the Internet, smartphones, tablets and social networking sites.” In 2011, a review of 18 different research studies thought that true internet addiction might affect up to 26 percent of teens. Regardless of your definition of addiction, 66 percent of parents and 52 percent of teenagers agree that they spend far too much time on their phones.

The good news is that most students are aware of their potential overuse of devices, and more than a third of them stated that they try to cut down the amount of time they spend on their devices. Meanwhile, parents are navigating new strategies on how to limit use as well as how and when their children are connected.

But even adults admit to feeling addicted to their mobile devices. In the poll, 27 percent of parents felt they were addicted and 28 percent of children believe their parents are addicted.

Digital Detox

An expert recommends that to curb the addiction, we must resist endless hours of surfing the internet and set limits on our use of mobile devices. Another recommendation is to limit posting on social media to three to five times per week. And if you can handle it, that same expert also recommends that when you feel the need to check your device, go for a walk or exercise instead — something that can provide the same unpredictability and stimulation as reading Facebook or Twitter.

Survey Stats:

  • 78% of students and 69% of parents said they checked their phone hourly
  • 72% of students and 48% of parents said they feel the need to respond immediately to texts and social network posts
  • 36% of parents said they argued with their child daily over device use
  • 77% of parents feel children are distracted and inattentive when they are together
  • 56% of parents admit to checking their phones while driving


Do you feel addicted to your devices? Would you take any steps to curb your use?

What are some health risks associated with overuse of technology?