Half of all kids addicted to mobile phones – Cybersmile

addicted - cybersmile report

New research from anti-bullying charity Cybersmile reveals that almost half (46%) of young people aged 12-16 feel they’re addicted to their smartphones.

Addicted to digital

The research was launch today, on Stop Cyberbullying Day. It uncovers how the younger generation perceive their own digital wellbeing and the risks to their mental and physical health.

The research, which informed Cybersmile’s new report titled ‘Digital Wellbeing 2020’ (also launching today), surveyed 1,000 12-16-year olds, examining their thoughts on how they are using and experiencing online devices and platforms now and pre-lockdown.

The research, report and Cybersmile’s commitment to better understand young people’s relationship with technology are supported by TV medical expert Dr Radha Modgil, an NHS GP & wellbeing campaigner who has previously worked on campaigns with BBC Children in Need, Public Health England and the NHS Youth Forum.

Key findings from the report include:

1 Screen addiction rises

Nearly half (46%) of young people consider themselves addicted to their smartphone. This is particularly evident amongst 16-year-olds, with 55% of those we interviewed considering themselves addicted to theirs.

2 Eat, sleep, phone, repeat

60% of young people feel the time they spend online negatively impacts other important areas of their life. This includes sleep, diet, exercise and study.

3 Obsession takes over

Internet and social media use among young people has doubled during the COVID-19 lockdown; with the daily average time among 12-16-year-olds spent online increasing from 3 to 6+ hours per day.

addicted - cybersmile
Kids on call: Cybersmile finds too many youngsters are addicted to digital tech.

4 Social fatigue

35% of young people feel that internet and social media use negatively affects their mental and/or physical health.

5 Parents need to step up

42% of young people consider their parents to be addicted to their smartphones; 18% of young people would like parents to help them more with reducing the amount of time they spend online.

6 Looking for help

Over a quarter (27%) of young people feel their parents wouldn’t know how to help them with online related problems.

With the same percentage of 16-year-olds not feeling comfortable going to their parents with said problem.

A further 13% of 13-year-olds feel their parent’s internet/social media use has affected their ability to look after them.

7 School stress

Almost a third (30%) of children feel their school wouldn’t know how to help them with an online related problem.

Excessive time online

Dan Raisbeck, Co-Founder of The Cybersmile Foundation said: “As we all spend more time connected to the internet, we need to be mindful of how young people are using and experiencing the devices and platforms that have become integral to their everyday lives.

“Stop Cyberbullying Day is a chance to educate ourselves on the issues associated with excessive screen time and technology use which can lead to the neglect of healthy routines and increased mental health issues.

“Our report – Digital Wellbeing 2020 – provides a unique insight into young people’s perspectives on their own digital wellbeing, as well as the capabilities of existing support structures within their home and school environments to understand where we can offer help.”

Dr Radha Modgil, NHS GP & wellbeing expert added: “We are all relying much more on technology and online activities for so many aspects of our lives.

“It has never been more important to equip and support people with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to navigate the internet safely; without neglecting their own wellbeing.

“This is why I am supporting The Cybersmile Foundation; which is doing incredible work to help people of all ages not only build the necessary skills to deal with online life and to reach out for support when they need it, but also on the importance of kindness, inclusion and digital wellbeing.”