Are your teens addicted to their smartphone?

If you asked your kids the simple question “Are you addicted to your smartphone?” what do you think they would say?

Last week our founder Colleen Wong visited a state school to mentor a group of fifty 13/14-year-olds. During her time there she got talking with them about smartphones and screen-time. With an evident willingness to discuss the subject at length, Colleen took the opportunity to find out their thoughts.

Out of the fifty, only one teen didn’t own a smartphone. He sais that his parents don’t want him to have one. He still hangs out with his friends, and he enjoys reading. He also has access to a computer at home.

Five out of the fifty said that they are NOT addicted to their phones. These five all explained that they are much more interested in playing sports and getting outside than being on social media and watching Youtube. Interestingly all five of these teens had been introduced to sport at a very young age.

Forty-Three of the Fifty were very happy to admit that they are addicted to their smartphones. They did, however, agree that if they didn’t have their smartphones for short periods, they would be more likely to hand out with friends, take walks, play more sports and overwhelmingly, they would chat with friends face to face. Almost all of this group admitted that they were addicted to Youtube and spent time watching random videos.

One of the fifty said that they would struggle immensely without the use of their smartphone.

Colleen found their views on smartphones and social wellbeing hugely interesting, especially as the teens were happy to talk in-depth about it. Here are just a few of their thoughts;

‘I have a phone but, when I meet up with friends, it annoys me because they are all on their phones.’‘

“My mum sets a screen time limit for me, but I know the password.’‘

“My dad forgot to set a screen time limit.’

‘I have had my phone taken away many times for using it too much. But it is actually good for me.’

‘I know for certain that if my phone were taken away, I would be annoyed but I also know it would make me see my friends more and do more things like sports’

‘I would never let my young sister have a smartphone.’

After lots of fascinating conversations, Colleen decided to ask them what they thought of My Gator Watch. She asked them “If I gave you My Gator Watch for one month and you had to use it in place of your smartphone, would you do it?”

Forty Nine said yes. But are they just saying yes? Would they really be able to do it?

These conversations highlighted that while many of these teens are highly addicted to their smartphones, they are also acutely aware of screen addiction and how negative it can be on their social wellbeing and their behaviour. They can see the benefits of reducing their screen-time without an adult telling them to do so. Would your teen consider swapping their smartphone for a Gator Watch? We would love to know what they say. Join the conversation in the comments below, or via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

My Gator Watch is a wearable mobile phone designed especially for 5-12-year-olds. It uses GPS, two-way calling, works across multiple networks and has an SOS feature for peace of mind. It does not have a messaging feature, and you, the parent; determine all numbers that are pre-set within the phone.

For more information and prices, please click here.

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