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When the COVID-19 pandemic started, screen time among teenagers grew by 17% – from 7 hours and 22 mins to 8 hours and 39 mins. This increase is due to teens staying home during the pandemic, relying on electronic devices and digital content for entertainment and education.
The increase caused several issues for both parents and kids. Learn how teens’ average screen time affected learning, what caused it, and how much they spend on phones and gadgets today.
- 2 hours is the recommended screen time for teenagers.
- Teenagers spend 24 minutes more screen time than anyone globally.
- 9 out of 10 teenagers exceed the recommended screen time.
- American adolescents aged 11 to 14 spend an average of 9 hours in front of screens.
- 95% of teenagers use smartphones to go online.
- About 60% of parents express concern about how much time their child spends in front of screens.
- Spending 5 or more hours a day on electronic devices increases the likelihood of teens exhibiting suicide risk factors by 71%.
Teenage Average Screen Time Overview
Teenagers spend, on average, 7.5 hours daily in front of electronic devices. Watching online videos, using social media, browsing websites, and playing games compose teenagers’ screen time.
However, prolonged exposure to screens affects someone’s well-being. Worldwide, 20% of young people suffer mental health problems associated with excessive screen time.
The following section will provide statistics on teenage screen time.
Statistics on Teenage Screen Time
When used appropriately, screen time can be beneficial. It contributes to teenagers’ learning and development of new skills. However, incorrect screen time monitoring can cause adverse effects such as depression and device distractions.
66.7% of parents are concerned about the harmful effects of screen time. They are worried about their children losing focus in class due to poor screen time habits.
Read more to learn about the recommended screen time for teenagers and its impacts on their lives.
1. The recommended screen time for teenagers is 2 hours.
Teenagers should limit their time in front of the screen. Longer screen times can lead to dry eye syndrome, digital eyestrain, and bad body postures. Additionally, it causes poor sleeping habits, and teenagers are more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety.
2. Teenagers spend 24 minutes more screen time than anyone globally.
The growing demand for communication, extensive social media usage, and technology integration into education is why teenagers spend more time on screen. They also tend to be more receptive to adopting new technologies, with cell phones becoming indispensable in their daily routines.
3. 9 out of 10 teenagers exceed the recommended screen time.
(Common Sense Media)
The statistics show that almost all teenagers exceed the recommended 2 hours of screen time.
The table below shows the percentage of teenagers’ daily screen use.
|Amount of screen media per day||Percentage|
|2 hours or less||7%|
|2 to 4 hours||15%|
|4 to 8 hours||34%|
|More than 8 hours||41%|
Watching shows, streaming movies, or playing games make teenagers spend more time on screens. This activity can prolong the exposure of teenagers in the form of screens.
4. American adolescents aged 11 to 14 spend an average of 9 hours in front of screens.
(HeadphoneAddict, Common Sense Media)
Teens from the US spend the most time on gadgets and screens. This is the highest screen time compared to other age groups, as shown in the table.
|Age group||Average daily teenager screen time|
|8-10 years||6 hours|
|11-14 years||9 hours|
|15-18 years||7.5 hours|
Children aged 11-14 also have higher smartphone ownership due to longer screen time. Additionally, the widespread use of technology in schools, homework research, and other assignments has contributed significantly.
5. Teens spent 3 hrs and 16 minutes watching video content.
(Common Sense Media)
In 2021, watching video content accounts for most teenagers’ screen time, which is relatively higher than other entertainment.
The table below compares the activities teenagers engage in while on screens.
|Mode of Screen Time||Average daily entertainment screen time used|
|Television / Videos||3 hours 16 minutes|
|Gaming||1 hour 46 minutes|
|Social Media||1 hour 27 minutes|
|Browsing websites||51 minutes|
|Content Creation||14 minutes|
As the access to videos becomes more accessible, teenagers use them for entertainment and learning. Visual media is also highly engaging and can hold the viewer’s attention for extended periods.
6. 95% of teenagers use smartphones to go online.
(Pew Research Center)
Smartphone use highlights the role of digital devices in teens’ screen time. Teenagers nowadays use it to connect to peers and access on-screen media. Around 3 in 4, Gen Zers admit to spending more time on their smartphones than they would like daily.
7. About 60% of parents express concern about how much time their child spends in front of screens.
Parents are concerned about how much time their children spend on screens, highlighting the need to limit teenagers’ screen time for optimal development. Exposure to inappropriate content and trolling are a few reasons parents worry when their child spends more time on screen.
However, parents can set up parental control apps on iPhone and Android devices to monitor children’s use of gadgets and ensure they are accessing safe content. Wherein 57% of parents actively set screen time restrictions for their teens in one way or another.
8. Spending five or more hours a day on electronic devices increases the likelihood of teens exhibiting suicide risk factors by 71%.
Due to excessive screen use, teens are losing the ability to interact with each other. Too much screen time can lead to cyberbullying, poor eating habits, isolation, and disrupted sleep. It also increases exposure to anxiety-provoking or otherwise distressing content.
9. While hanging out with friends, 52% of teens silently use their smartphones for extended periods.
The prevalence of smartphones, the availability of social media, and other digital content make it easy for teenagers to become absorbed in their devices for extended periods.
Additionally, teens use their phones to cope with social anxiety or awkwardness. This can lead to reduced social interaction, missed opportunities for face-to-face communication, and potential adverse effects on mental health.
10. 97% of US children and teens actively play video games and mobile gaming for at least an hour daily.
Video games and mobile gaming are easily accessible. They offer a range of benefits, including entertainment, socialization, and cognitive development. Many children and teens use games to cope with stress or difficult emotions.
11. During the pandemic, 62% of teenagers aged 14-17 actively increased their mobile phone usage.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread lockdowns and social distancing measures, disrupting regular routines and providing fewer opportunities for social interaction and physical activity. Consequently, numerous teenagers resorted to mobile phones to keep in touch with friends and family, seek entertainment, and deal with stress and anxiety.
Excessive screen time can negatively affect teenagers’ mental, social, and physical health. However, parents can prevent this by setting time limits and monitoring their children’s activities in front of screens.
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of proper screen time use can help teenagers have better screen time habits. And avoid the adverse effects of prolonged exposure to the screen.