Chances are your teen’s real best friend is far from silent. If your teen is typical, that “constant companion” is a smartphone — and it chirps out notifications on a pretty constant basis, including during the school day and at night.

Common Sense Media and the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital released a report this week on teens and texting. According to “Constant Companion: A Week in the Life of a Young Person’s Smartphone Use,” on a typical day, half of U.S. teens in the study received 237 or more notifications — about a quarter during the school day and 5% at night.

The report described the smartphone use of the adolescents as “both complicated and powerful.”

The study also found that “almost all” of the youths participating used their smartphone at least once during school hours and the average use time was 43 minutes. They noted that the school policies are different from one class to another — and so is enforcement.

“The good news is, many young people reported they have grown savvier about their phone’s attempts to draw them in and they’re taking steps to protect their digital well-being, like setting limits and prioritizing certain types of notifications,” wrote James P. Steyer, Common Sense Media CEO and founder, in a letter at the beginning of the report. “But the business model of these apps and devices hinges upon young people picking up their phones and engaging with them as much as possible and it’s clear that teens are struggling to set boundaries.”

The report said that about half of kids get their first smartphone by age 11. As Pew Research Center has reported, 43% of those ages 8 to 12 have a smartphone and among those 13 to 18, the share may be as high as 95%.

The sample size for the new study was small and only included those using Android phones because of how Apple tracking is set up. But it didn’t rely on self-reporting. Instead, the smartphone use by 200 youths ages 11-17 for a week was tracked by installing a study app called Chronicle, which runs in the background and collects “continuous data about which apps were used and when, how many pickups and notifications occurred and how much smartphones were used during the school day and overnight hours.” That data was combined with feedback from the Common Sense Media Youth Advisory Council to create the report.

“This report makes it abundantly clear that teens are struggling to manage their phone use, which is taking a serious toll on their ability to focus and overall mental health,” Steyer said in a news release. “Young people need more support from family members and educators, as well as clear guardrails from the technologists who are intentionally designing these devices to be addictive, at the expense of kids’ well-being.”

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“Smartphones have become an always-on, sometimes disruptive force in the lives of young people,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky, a report co-author and co-medical director of the American Academy of Pediatrics Center of Excellence on Social Media and Youth Mental Health, in the release.

Radesky, who is also affiliated with the children’s hospital, said the smartphone industry hasn’t helped much by providing good options to manage the technology, but noted that “teens are working hard to be savvy about design features and how to set boundaries.

Others agree that the constant clamor to attend to what’s happening on the smartphone is a problem for adolescents.

“I work with teenagers and young adults for about 40 hours a week. … This research bears itself out 100%,” John Duffy, a Chicago-based psychologist who wasn’t involved in the report, told CNN. “Even during therapy sessions, teenagers receive notifications at an astonishing clip, sometimes dozens of times per session.”

Duffy noted that adults might turn off notifications or even the phone itself during class or meetings or while doing homework. But “teenagers tend to keep them on,” he said. “An impulse pulls them toward looking at every single notification. As a result, their attention is scattered.”

Many of the teens in the study said it was hard to cut back and manage their usage, but said they were taking steps to cut back. While admitting that it can be hard to stop using technology, many of them said they are taking steps to try to cut back themselves, including using “do not disturb” features.

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Sleep disruption is an issue when it comes to young people, and smartphones can contribute in a significant way.

A recent study from Brigham Young University published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence noted that getting too little sleep can harm both mental and physical health for teens. As the Deseret News reported at the time, “hanging out with friends, viewing social media, visiting public places, snacking and watching TV all cut into sleep time when they occur late at night. They prolong the evening.”

Because adolescent brains are still developing and hormones are changing, sleep is a regulator that’s important. Plus, memories are consolidated in sleep and the body repairs itself from the day’s damage.

Activities that shorten sleep or interrupt it can have a negative impact.

The Common Sense report encourages parents and teens to consider together which apps are calming before bed and which are stimulating, so that phone use doesn’t interfere with sleep.

The report highlights also include:

  • More than two-thirds of the adolescents said they “sometimes “ or “often” find it hard to take a break from technology, noting it helps relieve negative feelings.
  • TikTok takes up the most time, with the youths averaging about two hours a day, but for some in the study, that can stretch to as many as seven hours.
  • The data said the adolescents in the study checked their phones more than 100 times a day on average.
  • Snapchat and Discord ranked highest in the number of notifications sent to study subjects on a typical day, “with some participants receiving hundreds of messages from these platforms.”
  • Over half of teens use their phones overnight on school nights mainly for YouTube (47%), social media (39%) and gaming (29%).

The report has recommendations for parents and other caregivers to get the conversation started about smartphone usage. It recommends parents be “curious,” rather than frustrated or judgmental when discussing how the technology is used. And because kids worry that parents will take away access if they admit to negative experiences, the report said to “let your child know at the outset that they can tell you about anything that happens on their phone and you’ll help them through it.”

It also notes that parental controls like filters and timers are “blunt tools” that require some upkeep and involvement by parents. “Most importantly, none of them will tell you how your child is feeling. Have regular conversations to understand how they feel about their life online,” the authors wrote.