As a disciplinary measure, have you ever tried to remove a teen’s smartphone from them? It sounds straightforward and benign until you factor that the heaviest smartphone users consider separation from their smartphone is like severing a limb. In other words, it’s beyond painful—it’s torture of the cruelest and most unusual sort.
How addicted are young people today? According to Pew Research:
Some 95% of teens now say they have or have access to a smartphone, which represents a 22-percentage-point increase from the 73% of teens who said this in 2014-2015. Smartphone ownership is nearly universal among teens of different genders, races and ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.
As smartphone access has become more prevalent, a growing share of teens now report using the internet on a near-constant basis. Some 45% of teens say they use the internet “almost constantly,” a figure that has nearly doubled from the 24% who said this in the 2014-2015 survey.
Another recent study found that students spend less than six minutes, on average, on schoolwork before being distracted by social media and texting.
Celebrations of digital culture are common today. What’s missing is the cautionary note and outright condemnation.
Go Outside and Play Has Little Meaning Today
The reality is the smartphone screen is but one screen that commands total attention. Pew reports that 84% of teens now have or have access to a game console at home, and 90% say they play video games (whether on a computer, game console or cell phone).
For marketers with products and services designed for teens, the question is how to reach teens who may be physically present, but mentally elsewhere.
Do you have ideas that will solve this puzzle? Please share them in our comments.