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Is Gen Z Addicted to Screens? They Seem to Think So 

Photo from Laura Chouette via Unsplash

Is Gen Z Addicted to Screens? They Seem to Think So 

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Barna data reveals that Gen Zers are unhappy with the amount of media and screen time they consume. 

“According to recent Barna data featured in the Gen Z: Volume 2 study, three in five teens and young adults (60%) say their generation spends too much time on screens,” Barna reports. “This assertion is likely tied to the fact that, asked how they feel about their personal screen use, more than half of Gen Z (53%) admit they often feel bad about the amount of time they spend.” 

Global Overview Report reveals that 16- to 64-year-olds are on the web an average of six hours and 40 minutes a day.  

“That’s about 47 hours a week and 101 days a year. By this estimation, beginning at age 18, a person who lives to be 80 will have spent more than 17 years of their adult life using the internet,” writes Lindsey Leake of Fortune Well. 

Amy Crouch shares her concern about her fellow Gen Zers and their social media use in her book “My Tech-Wise Life.”

“Has staring into our phones replaced staring out the window—have we swapped daydreaming for scrolling? The data certainly indicates that, when it comes time to ‘zone out,’ respondents are opting for screen time,” Crouch writes. 

The survey reveals that Gen Zers admit that screen time has affected their attention span and their productivity. 

“More than half of teens and young adults ages 13­-21-years-old (53%) say they put off or procrastinate doing homework or other things because of technology,” the report shows. “They also blame technology for feeling more distracted (50%) and less productive (36%), for wasting a lot of time (54%) and for shortening their attention span (30%).” 

Crouch discovered that while only a third of teenagers to young adults (13 to 21-year-olds) interviewed said that their parents/guardians set limits on technology, when asked if they self-police their technology use, a majority said they do.    

“And I just found thatreally pleasantly surprising to see that it’s not—this is not just something that parents are imposing on kids,” she said on “The Weight” podcast. “But kids are seeing that there are problems with devices and the way they impact us and are seeking to live differently. And I think that is awesome.” 

“There’s something so exhausting about this torrent of information, which presents itself as being so important, but is actually so banal,” Crouch said. “And I think that, whenever I take time away from devices, I’m always struck by the ways in which it is so calming to not constantly be getting these dings and buzzes that really have very little relevance to the important things in my life.” 

Crouch is not the only one in her generation who sees the benefits of taking a break from screen time. Many Gen Zers are aware of the negative effects constant screen time can have and are deciding to limit phone and other tech usage. Movieguide® reported: 

According to a handful of recent surveys, Gen Z is turning their back on major social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. 

A Fall 2021 survey conducted by investment bank Piper Sandler revealed that only 22% of those surveyed—between the ages of 7 and 22—named Instagram their favorite app. 

In Spring 2020, that same number was up at 31%. 

“When you delete it you realize you don’t need it,” 20-year-old Gabriella Steinerman told The New York Post of her motivation to stop using TikTok and Instagram in 2019. 

“When I was posting I wanted the best photo that I took and the best angle and I had 20 different photos of the same thing. I was comparing myself to myself, it’s not a fun game,” Steinerman added. “I would say it’s an obsessive behavior and it is toxic, but it’s also sneaky in that when you do it, it seems so normal.” 

And I just found that really pleasantly surprising to see that it’s not, this is not just something that parents are imposing on kids. But kids are seeing that there are problems with devices and the way they impact us and are seeking to live differently. And I think that is awesome. 


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