A total of 1000 Australians were interviewed in January for the survey; about 110 were aged between 14 and 17 and another 110 were aged between 18 and 24. [See figure below for complete age spread.]
ABS figures show that 90.3% of Australians aged between 5 and 14 took part in screen-based activities in 2017-18.
The survey said mobiles offered benefits for the young, with 79% of the 14 to 17-year-olds saying they felt safer in dangerous situations when they had their mobiles with them. Four-fifths used their mobiles to get directions while out and about.
The major reasons for this are convenience, with 34% saying they used their mobiles too much because it was so convenient having everything in one place, and engagement, with 31% saying they found it hard to put down the device because it was highly engaging.
The survey said that young people were also worried about cyber bullying more than their older counterparts. But parental concern about children being bullied online far outweighed the concern of young people themselves; two-thirds of surveyed parents were worried about their children being bullied online, compared to 52% who were worried about being bullied themselves.
In order to limit negative effects, young people tried to limit the use of their phones, the survey found. But while 61% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they were trying to limit their phone use, only 24% were successful.
The survey said the literature was yet to reach a consensus on how much mobile use was too much, adding that UK children’s health experts had said there was that there was no set amount that was correct. Families needed to set rules according to individual circumstances, rather than setting hard limits on daily screen use, it added.