Does your teen have smartphone addiction

Does Your Teen Have Smartphone Addiction?

It is amazing how teenagers and children as well are more well versed at operating smartphones than we are. You might be wondering does your team have a smartphone addiction?

These days, children receive phones at an early age. Since teenagers are growing up in a world where cell phone use has been ingrained in them at such a vulnerable age, they have a high chance of developing an addiction to their smartphones and/or social media.

Teen smartphone addiction is hardly surprising and has become an issue parents are worried about. Most parents have had frustrating confrontations with their children about their smartphone usage more than a few times. Smartphone addiction is believed to be of the same intensity as drug addiction and internet addiction. They are considered to be impulse control addictions.

Teenage smartphone addiction is not just texting and talking. In fact, talking on cell phones is not so common among teens as it is among adults. Teen smartphone addiction includes repetitive, compulsive use of the device for other activities. Such behaviours are perfectly normal in moderation, however, they become dangerous when tied to obsessive compulsion.

For teens, cell phones have become a way to comment and criticize, approve and admire. They are not always communicating with friends, rather, they are commenting on their activities. They are checking posts for likes and comments, as a result, most teenagers don’t have any measure of self-worth; they have low self-esteem. They tend to view themselves based on what people are saying about them.

There’s a biological component to this behaviour. The brain reacts to the cell phone as if it were a drug. Studies have shown that both the phone ringing and the alert of a new text cause the brain to release dopamine.

How to know if your teen has a smartphone addiction

1. There’s a drug-like withdrawal when not allowed to use the cellphone. The effects can include shaking, sweating, headaches, and restlessness

2. Insomnia and negative shifts in sleeping patterns

3. Increased anxiety and misplaced worry connected with the cell phone

4. Physical isolation from friends and family. Such isolation leads to mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety

5. Increased aggression in connection to control of the cell phone.

Some Effects of Teen Smartphone Addiction

  • Decreased brain connectivity in parts of the brain that regulate emotions, decision-making, and impulse control.
  • An increased likelihood to consume alcohol and use tobacco.
  • An increased likelihood to have poor dietary habits.
  • Increased levels of social loneliness.
  • Text neck: Neck pain associated with looking down at a cell phone for too long.
  • Digital eye strain: Burning and itching of eyes and blurred vision associated with looking at a screen for at least hours.
  • Car accidents: Research has revealed that texting and driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
  • Cell phone addiction drains attention. Teens’ intense focus on cell phones distracts them. They are not present in their everyday life. A teenager addicted to a cell phone craves the next incoming text or social media update. They are more likely to ignore face-to-face interaction. As a result, they fail to communicate with their families
  • Once cell phone addiction sets in, behaviours can change.
  • Grades at school can drop and participation in extracurricular activities can diminish.
  • Cell phone addiction is turning more and more teenagers into walking zombies. They are glued to their screens and removed from their lives by their focus on a mobile device.
  • Suicide: As unrealistic and harsh as this night seem, most teenagers resort to suicide when they make some mistakes on the internet. There is no explanation for why they feel this is their only resort, however, we have come to the conclusion that it is because they know “the internet never forgets”. Things like leaked nude pictures leaked secrets, cyberbullying etc tends to push teens to take drastic measures to avoid shame.

Read how a teenager committed suicide because she mistakenly sent the wrong message to the wrong person.

What can you do to correct/prevent it?

• Apply strict data limits to reduce cell phone usage.
• Cell phone providers offer inexpensive, password-activated programs. These programs shut off cell phones at night.
• Tech timeouts for the family in the evening and on the weekends can help.
• Try using a “Be Present Box” at the dinner table. Turned-off cell phones stay in the box during family time.
• Create a cell phone moratorium one day a week, or even one afternoon or evening per week.

If this doesn’t work out, you can get more advanced solutions to teen smartphone addiction.

Our teenagers are still in their developmental stages even if they feel and act like they are mature enough. Most of them have not fully mastered the necessary skills to survive in this world (I mean, nobody ever really does) because they have little or no experience.

They don’t like to appear ignorant or ask for help because they want to be part of the cool crowd. It is our job as parents to help them even if they might end up hating us for it, they’ll eventually come around.

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