UW study finds most teens have healthy relationship with technology

MADISON, Wis. — Your teenager might not be as glued to their phone or computer as you might think.

A new study from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health found that over 60% of teens have a healthy relationship with technology. Researchers looked at almost 4,000 parent-teen pairs, observing digital media use and family dynamics.

They found that the teens with the best tech habits had parents who set a good example with their own social media use. The rules that parents set regarding tech use can also be an important factor, and that goes beyond the amount of time spent on a device.

“Rules that focused on the content of technology, that focused on ongoing communication with parents — those rules were more effective than rules around screen time,” Dr. Megan Moreno said.

Moreno said that these rules could be different for each child depending on their needs. She also said that children with a bad relationship with technology often had parents who only set rules on screen time, or set no rules at all.

These children showed higher rates of depression and anxiety. Their parents also used social media more often than the parents of children with good social media habits.