Study: Mexican Teens Have Alarming Addiction to Mobile Devices

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More teens in Mexico feel distracted and addicted to their mobile devices than in other countries, according to a new study.

With 67% of the U.S. Latino population hailing from Mexico or having Mexican heritage, this addiction could complicate life here, too, say researchers from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Common Sense.

“Parents today are facing unprecedented challenges navigating both their children’s and their own mobile device use,” said USC Annenburg Dean Willow Bay, in a news release. “We’re seeing that in Mexico, for example, over half of parents feel their teen’s mobile device use has negatively impacted family meals, conversations and activities.”

The New Normal: Parent, Teens, and Mobile Devices in Mexico

The study surveyed more than 1,200 Mexican teens and parents.

Teen and Parent on phoneIn addition to Mexican teens feeling distracted and addicted to their mobile phones, most Mexican parents agree. They also reported feeling addicted themselves.

Here are more key study findings:

Mobile devices are rewiring daily life for teens and their parents.

  • 71% of parents and 67% of teens use a mobile device all the time
  • 47% of teens and 46% of parents check their device several times an hour

Mobile devices are interrupting sleep for parents and teens.

  • 35% of teens and 34% of parents wake up to check device at least once

Most teens and parents admit that their phones are a daily source of distraction.

  • 77% of teens and 75% of parents feel distracted once a day
  • 82% of parents say a device distracts their teen daily
  • 69% of parents say a device distracts their teen several times a day
  • 56% of teens say a device daily distracts a parent

Parents in Mexico are concerned about their teens’ mobile device use.

  • 64% of parents say their teen spends too much time on a device
  • 62% of parents say their teen is addicted to a device
  • 31% of teens say their parent is addicted to a device

More teens in Mexico feel they spend too much time on their mobile devices, when compared with teens in the other countries surveyed.

  • 45% of Mexican teens say they spend too much time on a device. This compares to 39% in the U.S., 32% U.K. and 17% Japan.

The Mexico study results are alarming, especially when U.S. Latino children increasingly use smartphones when they are faced with a digital divide for broadband Internet access, studies have shown.

The Flip Side of Latinos and Mobile Devices

In the Latino culture that puts family first, it is intriguing to see how mobile devices can affect interactions within a family.

Although Mexican teens are addicted to and dependent on their mobile device, Mexican parents and teens are doing more than any other country to ensure healthy use of mobile devices. The study reported that Mexican families are more likely to have family rules about mobile device use.

“Our aim with this research is to offer a snapshot of Mexican parents’ and teens’ mobile device habits, attitudes and opinions set in a cross-cultural context,” said, Common Sense founder and CEO James P. Steyer, in a news release. The study also could “generate further discussion about how devices and technology are changing the way Mexican parents and teenagers interact in a culture that treasures family,”

“We hope to help guide families around the world toward healthy use and balance in today’s interconnected communities.”

By The Numbers By The Numbers

28

percent

of Latino kids suffer four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACES).

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