Welcome to the March edition of the Mentor Minute! This month, we’ll be focusing on the impact that screens and devices have on Gen Z, and how we as mentors can help teach/model a healthier approach to screen time.

Let’s start with a number: 5.15

That number represents the estimated number of hours that 13-17 year-olds spend on their smartphones each day. If you add other screens and devices, that number jumps up to 7.22, excluding time on screens for school or work. For now though, let’s just focus on the smartphone screen number. What are students doing for 5.15 hours a day on their phones?

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but some of the most common uses include: playing video games, streaming video/TV, listening to music, and scrolling through social media feeds.

With all of this screen time on smartphones alone, how can we as mentors help students have a healthier approach to the volume and content they are consuming every day? And, how do we know if they even want our help?

A couple of interesting stats are worth mentioning here…

One recent study found that three in five students (60%) say their generation spends too much time on screens. And, when asked how they feel about their personal screen use, more than half of Gen Z (53%) admit they often FEEL BAD about the amount of time they spend.*

So, what does that mean? It means that a significant percentage of Gen Z already know that screen time is a problem for their generation. They don’t need to be convinced.

What they do need is help…they need a healthier approach to screen time.

Check back next week as we continue this conversation about screen time and talk about how we as mentors can help students have a healthier approach to all of the devices in their lives.

*The study referred to in this post led to the recent publication of “Gen Z Volume 2” by the Barna Group. A portion of the content of this post was also adapted from that study.