I remember the first time I used a telephone that had buttons instead of a rotary dial. I thought this new “Touch-Tone” technology was an amazing improvement over the old, destined to save precious seconds, even for an impatient 10-year-old.

My first mobile phone was installed in my car in 1991. (We called them “car phones” back then.) If I wanted to use it, I needed to be sitting in the car with the engine on. It was just like the regular phone I had at home, except it was in the car and it had a speaker so you could use it hands-free. Amazing!

I don’t remember the first time I used a wireless phone in my house (wow, one didn’t have to be tethered to the wall where the phone was attached anymore!), but I do remember when I got the first cell phone I could put in my pocket — my first true “mobile” phone, in 1995. It wasn’t “smart” just yet, but it was really cool. And now I could send a text message by pressing combinations of the number buttons to make words. Cool!

Since then there has only been more awesomeness with mobile phone technology. They say that the computing power in my current iPhone exceeds that of the computers on the spacecrafts that landed on the moon! Mobile phones were a rarity back in 1991; today they are ubiquitous. In fact, I don’t think I know anyone over the age of 14 that doesn’t have one of these “smartphones.” If you are like me, you use it to check headlines and stocks, Facebook and Twitter, emails and texts, banking apps and gaming apps. Calendars and alarms keep us organized and on time, and maps get us to where are going. Occasionally, we even use our “mobile devices” to make or receive a phone call!

A new study from Common Sense Media surveyed 1,200 teenagers and parents and found that 59% of parents think their teenage children are addicted to their mobile devices. 50% of teens agree with that assessment. Maggie Fox provides more results:

  • 27 percent of parents admit they’re addicted to their mobile devices
  • 28 percent of teens say their parents are addicted
  • 66 percent of parents say their teens spend too much time on mobile devices
  • 66 percent of parents ban the devices at dinner
  • 48 percent of parents feel the need to immediately respond to texts and other communications
  • … and 78 percent of teens feel the same way
  • 69 percent of parents check their devices hourly or more often
  • … and 78 percent of teens are doing the same thing
  • 56 percent of parents admit they look at mobile devices when driving
  • 51 percent of teens see them do it


56% of parents looking at their phones while driving is a concerning finding. But these aren’t:

  • 85 percent of parents say use of mobile devices does not hurt or even helped their relationships with their teens
  • 89 percent of teens feel the same about their parents’ use of mobile devices


Is your teenager addicted to their mobile device? Are you?

View an infographic containing the study’s results here.