Overview of The New Normal

The New Normal: Parents, Teens, and Mobile Devices Around the World is a multi-year research collaboration between USC Annenberg and Common Sense designed to advance cross-cultural exploration of family digital media engagement. This global mapping project has a unique and specific focus on parents and teens, the ways in which they are adopting and adapting to mobile devices in their lives, and how they see each other’s device use. As society observes the first generation of teens to grow up with a mobile device in their hands — and the first generation of parents to face unprecedented challenges in managing digital media in their own lives and the lives of their children — this project aims to spark a global conversation by introducing timely and relevant data from around the world. 

In 2016, Common Sense published findings from the first U.S. studies on this topic in reports titled Technology Addiction: Concerns, Controversy and Finding Balance and in The Common Sense Census: Plugged-In Parents of Tweens and Teens. This insight into American parent-teen relationships revealed a new family dynamic driven by tech and shaped by its benefits and drawbacks. These reports became the benchmark for comparison for the cross-cultural exploration we began in September 2017 when USC Annenberg released our first joint study with Common Sense, The New Normal: Parents, Teens, and Digital Devices in Japan. To continue the global mapping of mobile device use, Annenberg and Common sense released The New Normal: Parents, Teens, and Mobile Devices in the U.K. in 2018. 

In each country, the findings are the result of nationally representative online surveys of more than 1200 participants consisting of parent-teen pairs. The surveys address mobile device use, habits and attitudes among parents and teens with questions concerning distraction, feelings of “addiction” and family conflict as well as the perceived benefits of mobile technology. From the research, it is clear that technology is reshaping daily life for families around the world and USC Annenberg and Common Sense hope to offer insight to help parents and teens integrate mobile devices into their lives in thoughtful and productive ways.

The newest study, The New Normal: Parents, Teens, and Mobile Devices in Mexico — with comparative data analysis from the U.S., U.K., and Japan — launched in Mexico City on October 1, 2019.