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America's Teen Tech Addiction

Teenage girls using cell phones
Axel Bernstorff | Cultura RM Exclusive | Getty Images
Teenage girls using cell phones

Smartphones are clearly playing a greater roll in our daily lives. But, a worrying new poll shows just how much teens rely on their phones.

50% of teens say they feel addicted to their mobile devices according to Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping children, parents and policymakers navigate media and technology. A larger number of parents, 59%, say their teens are addicted to their phone. The poll comprised 1,240 interviews with parents and their kids, ages 12 to 18.

About 78% of those teens feel the need to check their mobile devices as least every hour, compared with 69% of parents who do so. 72% of teens feel the need to immediately respond to texts, social media messages and other notifications. Just under 50% of parents feel the same way.

But, don't just blame kids. 56% of parents admit they check their smartphone while driving – even with kids in the car. And 51% of teens see their parents checking, or using, their mobile devices while driving.

About 77% of parents feel their teens get distracted by devices and don't pay attention when they are together. But, 41% of teens feel that way about their parents. However, the vast majority of families (more than 80% of parents and teens) say mobile devices are not hurting parent-teen relationships.

What are some solutions for parents and teens? Common Sense Media has some suggestions:

Declare Tech-Free Zones and Times. Establish limits. Rules can be as simple as "no phones at the dinner table" or "no texting after 9pm."

Check the Ratings. Choose age-appropriate, high-quality media and tech for your family. Encourage your kids to be creative, responsible consumers, not just passive users.

Parent Role-Modeling: Kids will be more open and willing participants when the house rules apply to parents, too.