Parents of teens today are very familiar with the sight of their teen’s face bathed in the blue light coming from a cell phone, computer, or television screen. Technology today is everywhere, and many teens have near constant access to it. And while parents may worry about the amount of time their teen spends on their cell phone, when does the amount of time begin to become a real problem?
Cell Phone Addiction in Teens
A 2016 study found that 50 percent of teens “feel addicted” to mobile devices, while 59 percent of parents surveyed believe that kids are addicted to their devices. This survey also showed that 72 percent of teens and 48 percent of parents feel the need to immediately respond to texts, social-networking messages, and other notifications; 69 percent of parents and 78 percent of teens check their devices at least hourly.
One of the ways cell phones create an addictive feedback loop is through the apps that teens download. Social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, games, and even text messages give users a little jolt of dopamine every time they receive a “like”, comment, or message. This dose of “happy hormone” encourages teens to come back again and again to get that feeling, and as a result, they begin to need more of those interactions to get back to the equivalent of that initial jolt.
Signs and symptoms of cell phone addiction may include: continued excessive use despite negative effects in their life, withdrawing from family or shared events in favor of cell phone use, impulsive, frequent checking of their phone, insomnia or sleep deprivation due to excessive use, anxiety, and depression.
We understand that in today’s world, teens use their cell phones for a variety of reasons, both recreational and academic, so it can help to focus less on counting the minutes of use, and focus instead on how they are using their phone. It is important to teach them how to have a healthy balance in their cell phone use. To do that, parents must first understand how their teen is using their phone and what purpose it serves them. If your teen is spending hours on social media platforms or gaming, speak with them about how their behaviors are negatively affecting their lives. For example, if they are staying up late on their phone chatting, they may wake up tired and be unable to perform during the school day or in their extracurricular activities. You can also help them to create healthy boundaries around their phone use, but if they are unable to stay within these boundaries, it may be time to seek out professional help.
Solstice RTC Can Help
Solstice RTC helps teen students with a variety of issues. We often treat students struggling with challenges related to past traumas, loss, and attachment issues. Our goal is to equip them with the tools needed to lead happy, successful lives. We provide a nurturing and welcoming environment for teenage students and help them recognize that they are on the cusp of something wonderful: the chance to heal from their past and become the best version of themselves. For more information please call (866) 278-3345.