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Parents' Phone Usage May Be The Cause Of Teenage Screen Addiction

teen using phone

Research and concern over kids, teens, and those precious screens has been making headlines for years, basically since the very introduction of the smart phone. But while parents are desperately trying to figure out how to limit screen time, or get their teens' eyeballs off of the phone, they may first want to consult a mirror. You see, the latest study in this category suggests that kids are getting their bad tech habits from mom and dad.

Think about it, how often do you just need to answer that one email or check Facebook for a briefing on what the rest of the world is up to while you navigate your own day-to-day. We're on our phones constantly, without even realizing it, and we're modeling that behavior for our children.

Pew Research Center released the report How Teens and Parents Navigate Screen Time and Device Distractions and it confirms our fears -- yes, we could be to blame for the very teen screen addiction that we loathe.

teen on phone
Credit: iStock / tommaso79

The study team compiled information on not only the phone use of teenagers, but parents as well. The results are clear: Fifty-one percent of teens surveyed said their parents are "sometimes" distracted by phones during conversation and 14 percent say their parents are "often" guilty of this behavior. What it boils down to is that they notice when you're on your phone just as much as you're noticing how much time they're spending on their own.

On top of all of that, when it comes to being on the job, parents are reportedly more likely than their kids to be distracted by their phones outside of the house, with 15 percent admitting they get caught up with their phones at work. Only 8 percent of teens would cop to their phones distracting them at school (though we wonder how truthful each of those percentages are, given how easy it is to go down the rabbit hole with a handy dandy screen in your pocket.

As a society, we're addicted to having information at our fingertips, whether that means texting our partners or friends, checking social media, or Googling information we need to know right now. It's not too late to work on our own screen obsession and maybe, just maybe, modeling positive changes for our kids will make them think twice about picking up their phones, too.

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