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Children Spend Around 4.5 Hours Per Day on Their Phones

By Orgesta Tolaj


12 October 2023

Kids' Smartphone Usage During School Hours

© RDNE Stock project / Pexels

Smartphones have definitely become one of the most used gadgets nowadays. Everyone and their mothers are using a phone nowadays, and this includes children as well. While mobile phones have shown to be quite helpful to children who want to reach out when they are in danger or in need of help, there is a downside to smartphone usage as well. According to recent research, kids’ smartphone usage during school hours is at an all-time high, and the situation is raising a few eyebrows.

Kids’ Smartphone Usage During School Hours Research

A recent study conducted by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California, examined the phone usage of 203 children aged 11 to 17 from diverse backgrounds, and experts were startled by the findings. As stated in a press release, the research revealed that smartphones have become a nearly constant presence in the lives of young people, though the extent of usage varied.

The study found that, on average, children spend approximately 4.5 hours per day on their phones, with some individuals spending up to 16 hours daily on their devices. This includes teenagers as well.

How Did Schools React?

School policies on student cell phone use during school hours have fluctuated over the years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of schools prohibiting non-academic cell phone use went from 91% in 2009-10 to 66% in 2015-16, but then rose back to 77% by 2019-20. Teachers struggle to address students’ increased phone use, which was at an all-time high during COVID-19 remote learning. However, cell phones can also have educational benefits. Concerns from parents include the inability to reach their children during emergencies.

This marks the lowest safety measure percentages from schools in recent years.

What Apps Are Kids Mostly Using During School Hours?

A study by Common Sense Media found that students primarily use social media (32%), YouTube (26%), and gaming (17%) on their cell phones during school hours, with TikTok being the most popular app. Some states like Florida, Montana, and Louisiana have taken steps to ban TikTok on school grounds or publicly funded devices, citing concerns about privacy, distractions, and mental health impact.

Should Kids Have Cellphones to Begin With?

This whole ordeal raises the main question at hand: should kids even be using cell phones?

Getting a phone for your child can have several benefits, including enhanced safety and teaching responsibility. It ensures that your child can easily reach you in emergencies, providing a sense of security, and it’s particularly useful when they start spending unsupervised time with peers. Phones also enable kids to contact you when they’ve safely reached destinations, like school.

For teenagers who drive or ride with friends, having a phone is crucial for accessing directions, calling for help, or using GPS tracking apps like Apple’s “Find My.” Phones also serve as a primary means of communication with peers, helping kids socialize, build friendships, plan group activities, and even study together. Additionally, for children involved in extracurricular activities, phones allow them to stay in touch, especially when schedules or locations change during sports seasons or the school year.

What do you think? Do you think this is an issue that needs to be talked about more? Or, is it okay for children to use their phones so frequently? Let us know in the comments below!

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!