After a day of school and gymnastics practice, Kendel Gocken ’25 relaxes into TikTok. Minutes later, her mom looks up from her own device to tell Kendel to get off her phone and interact with the world.
The use of screens in everyday life is affecting our relationships with each other. In fact, 46% of parents with teens are worried that their child will be exposed to explicit content on social media, yet 39% of teens say their experiences on social media are better than parents think according to Pew Research. “My dad is always on his computer at home,” said Gocken. “He does all of his work online, I almost never see him off of his computer.”
This experience is so common among families that it is becoming a part of everyday life. Family time often turns into individual people in the same room, scrolling on their own personalized social media pages. “Most of the time when we hang out as a family, we are all on our phones with a movie playing on the TV,” said Nate Rademacher, father of Makayla Rademacher ‘25.
However, this isn’t the case for everyone.
“My parents are really intentional about family time. They tell us to put our phones away if we’re all spending time together,” said Lucy Anderson ‘25.
On the flip side, Anderson spends countless hours in front of a screen every day doing her schoolwork. “I have to be careful about taking breaks and not sitting in front of the screen all day,” said Anderson. “I like to take a walk with my dog or go talk to my mom upstairs.”
Screens continue to be a defining factor in relationships between both teens and adults.