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Nearly Half of Parents Worry Their Child Is Addicted To Mobile Devices, Study Finds (usatoday.com) 129

According to a new survey from Common Sense Media and SurveyMonkey, 47% of parents worry their child is addicted to their mobile device. By comparison, only 32% of parents say they're addicted themselves. USA Today reports: Half of parents also say they are at least somewhat concerned about how mobile devices will affect their kids' mental health. Nearly one in five say they're "extremely" or "very" concerned. According to the survey, 89% of parents believe it's up to them to curb their children's smartphone usage. The survey conducted between Jan. 25 and Jan. 29 included a sample of 4,201 adults, including 1,024 parents with children under age 18. Data was weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the U.S. for adults over 18, based on Census data. Many devices and services feature parental controls, but some parents may not be aware they exist. The Common Sense-SurveyMonkey survey found 22% of parents did not know YouTube -- which has faced scrutiny over how easy it is for kids to find inappropriate videos -- offered parental controls. Also, 37% have not used the controls before. Among parents surveyed who say their kids watch YouTube videos, 62% said their kids have seen inappropriate videos on the site. Most, or 81%, said it's the parents' job to prevent kids from seeing these videos.
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Nearly Half of Parents Worry Their Child Is Addicted To Mobile Devices, Study Finds

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  • by nwf ( 25607 )

    That the survey was online via SurveyMoney. Perhaps not the best sampling.

    • nearly half of parents addicted to worrying XD
      • Addicted.

        Is that even still a thing with our current scheme of rebranding willpower fails as disease?

        And yes, today's children, and adults, spend way too fracking much time staring into the black mirror... but it's no worse than television and way better than a crack habit.

  • College is un-affordable, school shootings on the rise, we're at 8 wars an counting and AI is going to decimate the job market in the next 20 years... and they pick mobile device addiction to worry about.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Well, yes, it is logic. Perhaps if they spend less time tied to that mobile device sharing empty communications, they will pay attention to everything else.

      Solution is easy, a minors only internet, with secured log in provided by schools and only licensed adults allowed access to monitor and supervise interactions. All content on the minors only internet must pass a review board but some companies with legal ramifications for failure can upload direct and be reviewed after, get it wrong pay a major fine.

      T

    • by Anonymous Coward

      College is un-affordable, school shootings on the rise, we're at 8 wars an counting and AI is going to decimate the job market in the next 20 years... and they pick mobile device addiction to worry about.

      Distracted driving accounts for 300,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths every year in the US. And those statistics are doing nothing but rising. School shooting deaths don't even come close to that threat in society. This isn't just an addiction problem. This is a deadly problem that affects all of us.

      And since we're not going to win the war against tobacco (440,000 deaths, 30,000 deaths from secondhand smoke) or alcohol (80,000 deaths), might as well try and tackle this ever-increasing issue in society.

      And c

    • In other news, more than half of parents are idiots

      I wish I was wrong.

    • College is un-affordable, school shootings on the rise, we're at 8 wars an counting and AI is going to decimate the job market in the next 20 years... and they pick mobile device addiction to worry about.

      Or maybe half of parents pick something they can control to worry about.
      Or maybe most people in the world can focus on more than one problem at a time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Of all of those mobile device addiction is the one that the parents themselves actually have a chance of doing something about

  • I'm sure someone will provide me with evidence if I'm wrong, but to date I am unaware of any actual peer reviewed reports documenting that "cell phone addition" is harmful or even exists. The worst I can find are a few reports that suggest that kids that watch ads for junk food on the internet tend to eat more junk food.
    • Besides above mentioned reasons, it just cannot be healthy in terms of social development to be in rooms full of teenagers where there only source of interaction is chatting in WhatsApp/Instagram/whatever crap these kids are on nowadays. Kinda shocking developments the past few years, especially now that every 10+ year old kid "needs" a smartphone. I'm sure not all of them are doomed but it just cannot not have any effect. I keep finding myself shocked seeing those little heads bent over their phones for h
      • See, that's the problem. You state "it just cannot be", but there simply isn't any objective empirical evidence to demonstrate that. It's no different than someone saying "I just can't believe that radio radiation doesn't cause cancer". Ok, you can believe or not believe what you like, but there isn't any science to back that up.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's really that simple.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:09PM (#56172439)

    These people do realize that it's their job as a parents to tell their kids what they can and can't do, right? Or are they too busy trying to be their kids' chill friend and obsessing over their own selfish shit instead of, you know, BEING THE FUCKING PARENT?

  • by Falconnan ( 4073277 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:11PM (#56172453)

    Parents worry about all sorts of things. Everything is a threat. Which is technically accurate if assessed from the position of "zero risk". But just because a parent is worried about a thing doesn't make it an actual threat, though intuition suggests limiting screen time is a wise choice in general. Also, the inappropriate content issue is partially subjective as well. Define the term and try again, knowing that parents differ on what this means. So define the term and try again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    And while Common Sense Media isn't precisely pro-censorship, they strike me as panicky and reactionary. Also, they have a vested interest in promoting concerns from parents and potential donors. I'm not saying they're in anyway being deceitful, but what I have seen of them suggests a cognitive bias toward provoking fearful response.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:12PM (#56172457)

    Nearly half of children worry their parents are addicted to mobile devices.

  • "Stop reading and go out and play, you'll ruin your eyes".

    My mother fell for it, my dad was harder to fool.

  • We learn from those around us ...
  • Half of parents worry that their kid is addicted to mobile devices? That number seems low. I'm betting that way more than half of their kids actually are addicted to their smartphones.
  • by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:19PM (#56172509)

    That their parents were afraid they were addicted to TV?!

    Their parents' parents were afraid they were addicted to radio.

    Apparently this is a thing with every generation that advances somewhat from the old.

    “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners. Contempt for authority. They show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” “[Technology] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories. They will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing. They will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing” - Socrates

    Some more examples: http://mentalfloss.com/article... [mentalfloss.com]

    • All I see is a chain a true statements throughout history.
      We do have a generation of people unhealthily addicted to mobile devices, social media, etc.
      We do have a generation of people unhealthily addicted to TV and video games.
      We did have a generation of people unhealthily addicted to radio and music. ...
      We do increasingly rely on technology instead of our brains and hands.
      We are increasingly losing practical skills such as cooking, sewing, financial management, carpentry, remembering, thinking, etc.

      Technol

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @09:44PM (#56173329)

      That their parents were afraid they were addicted to TV?!

      Their parents' parents were afraid they were addicted to radio.

      Apparently this is a thing with every generation that advances somewhat from the old.

      Addiction to television and radio did not cause thousands of deaths every year. And distracted driving deaths are on the rise.

      Don't be ignorant as to why this addiction is considerably different than the concerns of yesteryear. Addicts can't put their fucking phone down to stop killing innocent people on the road, and that is a threat that damn near every one of us have to face on a daily basis.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Addiction to television and radio did not cause thousands of deaths every year.

        So you're telling me that the obesity crisis has NOTHING to do with people sitting on their fat asses watching television for hours on end when they could be doing something outside, like going for a walk.

        Pretty certain people are dying left and right from the damn things.

    • In fairness, Greek society really did go downhill, and humanity entered into a period of dark ages.
    • I think you're ignoring that technology is becoming more immersive .... radio just involves the ears, tv eyes and years, whilst phones games are way more immersive and are likely to hold a childs attention longer,

      Progressively intensifying the immersive technologies kids are exposed to is a social experiment, have no doubt about it. With the next generation it'll be augmented reality and VR, who knows after that.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:20PM (#56172513) Homepage

    prior to smartphones it was TV
    prior to TV it was telephones.
    prior to telephones it was playing hooky and going to the theatre
    and prior to that it was that damned jazz.

    It seems some parents --not all mind you-- are out for an excuse to root out anything and everything their child could become addicted to and convict it of the moral decay of all society. The survey singles out Youtube as the degenerate du-jour, whereas my parents complained about the rap music and championed Tipper's parental advisories. After Columbine it was Doom and Mortal Kombat and "those damned video games" that were ushering in a new dark age of "super predators" hellbent on murdering their friends and families...so we got parental ratings for video games.

    To the parents I say this: your child carries with them more knowledge, power, and responsibility in their pocket than you've likely known in the past fifty years. Any question they have can be quickly and comfortably answered by this device, which is nothing short of a god send for kids in cities ruled by moral majorities that refuse to teach sex education, outlaw abortion, and think Gays control the weather. Do yourselves a favour and teach them how to use these devices instead of enacting parental control after parental control, which you neither understand how to operate nor how to troubleshoot when your kid makes their way around it. Mentor your children, dont stifle them.

    • I do think phones are a bit different. Many people these days can't spend 30 seconds not doing anything -- they'll reach for their phones instinctively. TV/comics/music never approached this level of behavior change.

      Not to say that this is a negative. It certainly can be sometimes, but I think it'd be wrong to reach a broad conclusion about it. My assumption is that you are correct and that parents are just worrying about things like parents always have... and people generally still tend to turn out alright

    • Hmm. Dramatic sounding.

      To the parents I say this: your child carries with them more knowledge, power, and responsibility in their pocket than you've likely known in the past fifty years.

      It's just a pocket internet connected computer. Yes, there's plenty of useful stuff to connect to, and plenty of useless and harmful crap too.

      And no, my children don't carry them in their pockets, because they don't need them and I don't let them. They are children, and they don't yet have the wisdom to navigate every dark alley in the world.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was gonna say "spot the millennial", but you've already got that covered in your subject line.

      Yeah, the kids really hate it when you diss their toys.

      > your child carries with them more knowledge, power, and responsibility in their pocket than you've likely known in the past fifty years

      The problem here is that those children become to *depend* on those *tools* (and that's all they are). Take it away, and most are completely unable to function in society.

  • Easy Test. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Zorro ( 15797 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:21PM (#56172517)

    Take it away and see IF they act like a junkie.

    Nervous?
    Sweating?
    Inability to form thoughts or opinions?
    Sunlight painful?
    Can't sleep?
    Lack of personal hygiene?
    Irritable?
    Defensive?

    You might be an addict.

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:25PM (#56172541)
    As somebody who lives in a college town, I would guess that the number is closer to 75%-85% of kids are seriously addicted. It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with all of these kids walking around staring at their devices constantly. Heck, kids even walk less (and ride bikes almost never), because, I assume, they can spend more time on their gadgets sitting on buses than they can walking or biking..
  • The other half ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:28PM (#56172555)

    ... the kids intercepted the survey and completed it for their parents.

  • Seriously, what parent isn't concerned that their kid is addicted to mobile devices? Cars, trucks, sure they seem innocent enough, but then they start demanding you change zoning codes to subsidize the device storage "Mom, I want my trucks in the living room AND the kitchen!", they require minimum parking standards "I don't want to go to grandma's house, there's no place to play with my car race set!", and they monopolize the streets demanding more than one-third of the land "I have to set up my race track

    • I for one am glad to step on a cell phone in the middle of the night in my bare feet, rather than a truck or car toy

  • phone? pfft, my son is a gamer and his video card weighs more than my PC tower. he can't carry that around 24x7

  • ...that many are worried.
  • I guess the other half doesn't notice because they rarely look up from their own devices. Kind of a weird stat there. I know parents who think that an hour a day is addiction. and those that think that there is no such thing as being addicted. Safe to say, this is an empty survey
  • The problem is not so much any sort of addiction as it's a time sink. Sites like YouTube are designed so that you keep clicking on more videos until hours have passed and no homework were done. If it weren't mobile devices, it'd be TV or something else, but mobile devices is what we have to worry about recently. When they're teens you can't just look over their shoulders, so the best I've come up with is openwrt (LEDE) DNS blocking.

  • I can't do anything. I am a mentally handicapped person - a parent! I can't possibly just take away the fucking thing from my child, because think of the children! SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!!!!!
  • Who do the other 11% think is responsible for their kids? The government? Cell phone companies? Nobody, because cell phones shut them up even better than TV?

    And what about the 19% who think it's up to someone else to make sure their kids don't see inappropriate material? What other parental responsibilities do they think they can shirk? Who do they think should be doing their job for them?

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!

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