Technology in the present times is at the forefronts and a driving force in gaining and obtaining knowledge. Children are learning and having an access to the smartphone at an early age then before.
Smartphones have been ingrained in them at a vulnerable age and are very much susceptible to developing an addiction to their smartphone and/or social media.
A child or a teenager suffering from smartphone addiction can have several negative implications on the brain development. Some behaviours and personality traits are more prone to internet addiction than others. These individuals tend to have low self esteem, low cooperation, are fearful, shy and depend on rewards associated with the smartphone.
Mobile addiction can have physical, psychological as well as several effects on the academic performance. Excessive use of smartphone leads to a build-up of negative thoughts, excessive worries leading to anxiety and depression at clinical levels.
A recent research shows that 45% teens said they used the internet ‘almost constantly’ and another 44% said they go online several times a day.
Potential symptoms of smartphone addiction include the conscious use in potentially dangerous situations, conflicts with family, withdrawing from family, negative effects on school, family, social or emotional functioning. There is impulsive, frequent, constant checking of smartphone wherein there is an urge to check it every few minutes.
It has been found that there is an increased anxiety and irritability if the phone is not accessible. Although it is difficult to differentiate between the normal use and problematic use but it is highly advisable to pick up the warning signs.
Teens becoming angry, irritable, anxious, violent, avoiding social events, neglecting personal hygiene, relationships are some of the warning signs. Smartphones also interfere with and disturb the sleep cycle.
Teens who are addicted to the internet tend to experience:
- a decrease impulse control
- an increased likelyhood to consume alcohol and tobacco
- increased tendency for loneliness
- poor dietary habits
Other harmful effects of cellphone addiction could be:
- Digital Eye strain – burning and itching of eyes, blurring after looking at the screen for 2 hours
- Road accidents – texting and driving
- Neck Pain – by looking down at cellphone for too long
Teenagers utilize their cellphones to access various social media sites like facebook, instagram and snapchat to connect with their peers. This can lead to problematic cellphone use leading to Facebook Depression (a term for depression associated with excessive social media use), cyber-bullying, sexting etc.
Research reveals that 92% of teens say that they go online daily, while 24% consider themselves to be online “almost constantly.”Facebook is the most-commonly visited social media site for teens (71%), followed by Instagram (52%), then Snapchat (44%).
So if you are concerned about your child or teenagers smartphone addiction, please visit and seek help from a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist.