As new generations continue to grow up with cutting-edge advancements in technology, owning a consumer-friendly smartphone or another gadget is becoming the norm for teenagers. Nearly half of teenagers in the United States and in Japan say they can’t put their devices down. Teens state they are addicted to their devices and cannot put them down, which causes the greatest conflict between them and their parents, according to research at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism in Los Angeles. The study, “The New Normal: Parents, Teens and Digital Devices,” polled 1,200 Americans and 1,200 Japanese and was released at the USC Global Conference 2017 in Tokyo. Results showed that a majority of Japanese and American parents feel their teenagers use mobile devices too much, with about 60 percent of both American and Japanese parents saying they believe their children are addicted. More than 1 in 3 Japanese parents as well as about 1 in 4 American parents said they also feel addicted to mobile devices. About 7 in 10 American teens said they felt the need to respond immediately to mobile messages, compared to about half of Japanese teens. Nearly half of teens in Japan say they look at and use their devices at least hourly. In the United States, that number higher – landing at 78 percent of teenagers. These numbers, while slightly less, are correlated with that of adults’. The study stresses that this increase in the use of mobile devices has led to issues in family life and relationships that teens have with their parents. The study also asked teenagers how they felt if they did not have access to their phones, and many stated that situation would not be good at all. As technology advancements continue to be made and the use of mobile devices continues to grow, this study brings to light the need for more research on how to integrate technology into family life in both productive and positive ways.
Robb, M. B., Bay, W., & Vennegaard, T. (2017). The new normal: Parents, teens, and digital devices in Japan. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense. http://assets.uscannenberg.org/docs/CS_DigitalDevicesJapan_v8_press.pdf