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My parents reluctantly let go of their old Nokias and Motorola flip-phones years after they finally trusted my sister and I with smartphones. They made us swear we wouldn't become the zombies we were seeing crop up around us who never looked up from their screens. But we did, and the longer my parents have had their smartphones, to some degree, so have they.

It's been commonplace for a while to see everyone, everywhere, on their smartphones, at all times. A recent Pew research study showed more than half of teens are now trying to cut back on their screen time.

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It has seemed like a hopeless battle to get teens off their smartphones with the companies themselves not helping the epidemic. Being "liked" on social media might be a far greater thrill than being liked in reality.

A study conducted by VitalSmarts calls the phenomenon of crafting the "perfect post" to get the best online response social media "trophy hunters." Of the study's 1600 participants, 75 percent said they felt disconnected or rude because they were focused on their phone rather than a friend.

"'Likes' are a low-effort way to produce a counterfeit feeling of social well-being that takes more effort to achieve in the real world," Joseph Grenny, VitalSmarts co-researcher, said.

The study showed sometimes parents aren't helping to solve the problem. Researchers found 79 percent of participating parents neglected events or feelings in their children's lives to capture a post for social media.

Smartphones seem to have parents pulled in two different directions, they're concerned about their children's screen time, but are quickly gaining an addiction of their own. Parents participating in the Pew study said they felt distracted by their phones, both in conversations with their children and at work.

Apple, Google, Facebook, and Instagram have all announced new features to help curb time spent on phones and/or social media. Facebook added an activity dashboard that shows how long you've been online, daily reminders for hitting your daily time total, and ways to tune out of notifications.

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Takeaways

  1. Teens are starting to take matters into their own hands and limit their smartphone and social media usage, according to a new Pew Research study.
  2. Teens once relied on parents to set the rules, but now parents are also riding the social media wave and are sometimes equally addicted to smartphones.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.