Parents may be surprised to know that the average child receives up to almost 5,000 alerts on their smartphone daily.
The huge number was discovered in a study that monitored the smartphone use of 11- to 17-year-olds for a week and found that participants received 237 notifications on a typical day.
But the report found that the frequency varied with highs of more than 4,500 delivered and more than 1,200 viewed.
The pings came primarily from social media apps, with Snapchat, Discord, and Instagram topping the list.
About a quarter of these endless alerts appear during school hours, and about five percent more occur between midnight and 5 a.m. on school nights.
Teens and young adults with mobile phones suffer from incessant distractions from their devices, with most of the hundreds and sometimes thousands of “pings” coming from social media, YouTube and gaming apps, according to new research.
These young people have sometimes faced what the authors of the Common Sense Media study called “constant buzzing.”
‘What are the long-term consequences?’ asked a concerned psychiatrist who independently reviewed the group’s new report. “I don’t think we know.”
But despite and because of that uncertainty, the psychiatrist said he was “immensely concerned” by the report’s new findings.
The overwhelming pace of a mobile device’s “highly stimulating environment” can negatively impact a teenager’s “cognitive ability, attention span and memory during a time when their brains are still developing,” said psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Maxwell. NBC News.
Dr. Maxwell, interim director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, was not involved in the new research.
But Jim echoed their concerns. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, which released the report on Tuesday after carrying out research and surveys in which more than 200 young people between 11 and 18 years old participated.
“They literally wake up and before they go to the bathroom, they’re on the phone,” said Steyer, whose nonprofit group Common Sense focuses on the impact of media and technology on children and their families.
Steyer’s group recruited 203 teenagers from across the United States who, with their parents’ permission, agreed to let the 501(c)1 nonprofit organization track each of the groups from 11 to 11. 17 years Smartphone use for a week.
The researchers used the Chronicle app, which runs silently in the background, recording information about which apps the device owner uses and when, as well as how often the phone is picked up, how many notifications are sent, among other data points.
But Common Sense Media’s work was limited to Android users only, due to the fact that Apple’s device tracking specifications prevent researchers from accessing “the names of specific non-Apple apps that young people commonly use (e.g., social media apps, mobile games),’ at least, according to their report.
Fortunately, for most teens in that sample of 203 people, those hundreds of pings and alerts didn’t necessarily translate into consistent usage at the same rate.
The data also showed that half of the young people tracked picked up their phone at least 51 times a day, and some picked up their device as few as two or as many as 498 times a day.
The youngest participants, ages 11 to 12, were less likely to constantly check their phones, as befits their social lives and their parents’ restrictions.
On the other hand, teens were much more likely to check their phones more than 100 times in a single day.
After analyzing that data, the nonprofit’s researchers discussed those results with a 15-member group of teens ages 14 to 18, spanning a wide range of races, ethnicities and genders, to better contextualize their findings. .
For most of the 203 teens studied, those hundreds of alerts didn’t necessarily translate into consistent use at the same rate. Half of young people picked up their phone at least 51 times a day, and some picked up their device as few as two or as many as 498 times a day.
After analyzing that data (above), the researchers discussed those results with a 15-member group of teens ages 14 to 18, spanning a wide range of races, ethnicities, and genders, to better contextualize their findings.
While this ‘Common Sense 2023 Youth Advisory Council’ worked closely with researchers from January to May In 2023, their own mobile phones were not tracked for the study.
“I think if you’re an active user of your phone, you’re going to get so many notifications from different platforms that you’re not even using them,” said an 11th grade advisory board member.
“They’re not even just for communication,” the teenager said. “You’ll get so many that if you don’t select, you’ll feel overwhelmed.”
Some shared their own strategies for achieving some peace of mind.
“I always keep my phone on ‘do not disturb’ at night, just so I’m not tempted to use my phone,” another advisory board member, a ninth-grade student, told researchers, “but I also don’t keep it in my bedroom.
In addition to developing good habits, the researchers were interested in looking at the possibility of misleading data in their tracking.
Many of the young people in their study group tended to leave “passive” content on their phones, such as music, background television or movies, while they did homework or tasks such as doing laundry.
‘While [some teens] “Averaging more than 16 hours a day,” the Common Sense Media team reported, smartphone use by “teens” doesn’t always match the adult narrative that “teens always look at their phones.” screens”.