CNN news 2016-07-04

Half of American teens say they feel addicted to their mobile devices and more than half of parents say their kids are. This is according to a new study by Common Sense Media. And an expert in digital detoxification says one sign of a problem is when a young person would rather play videogames inside, alone, than go to the movies or hang out with friends.

It's not known yet whether a large number of people would fit into a technical definition of an addict when it comes to cell phone use. But those who think they might aren't limited to teenagers. The study found that 27 percent of parents have troubled unplugging.

KELLY WALLACE, cnn REPORTER: Would you say you are addicted to your phone?


SUBTITLE: Digital dependence.

WALLACE: Do you ever wonder if that 24/7 connectedness is making us less connected? Consider this: 90 percent of American adults have cell phones, and 29 percent of cell phone users say they can't live without those cell phones.

Could you go a day without your phone, could you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't think so.

WALLACE: Is it true you sleep with it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I sleep with my phone.

WALLACE: Where is your phone when you're sleeping?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Usually in my hand, under my pillow. So, like it's in my hand the whole time when I'm sleeping.

WALLACE: What would it feel like if I said you couldn't check for a day?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like the Stone Age.

WALLACE: Seventy-one of teens are on more than one social networking site, and studies show that social media can sometimes not be great for self-esteem. One study in fact found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the worst they felt about their own lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're not having a good day and then you go on Facebook and you see how your best friend just went to Disney and your other friend, you know, just got a boyfriend and everyone is having such a great life, because we only post our happy moments, then that makes you feel worse.

WALLACE: China and South Korea have already identified Internet addiction as a significant public health threat that hasn't happened yet in the United States, but people in this country are already being treated for Internet addiction.

It isn't all bad. Forty-six percent of the workforce feel more productive and 87 percent say the Internet and cell phones improve their ability to learn new things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the future, the new generation. I think we're embracing it. And we're growing a lot from social networking. It's helping us out a lot.

WALLACE: Do you think in a way we're losing out on these personal connections? I mean, look at us, we're having a conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is probably the longest conversation I've had since I've been in America.