Not-So-Smartphone: The Dangers of Teen Smartphone Addiction

50% of teens think they are addicted to their mobile devices. As for parents, 59% think their children are addicted. For many, these statistics may seem like news of the weird – after all, traditionally addiction has been to substances. Unfortunately, however, this mentality can often only hurt the situation and prevent a child from receiving (or even asking for) the help they need. Scientists have established that addiction follows a similar course, regardless of the original spark; the effect a smartphone addiction can have on a child’s brain is remarkably similar to the effect of the chemicals commonly associated with addiction. That is to say, the triggers do not matter as much as the results; and, in the case of teen smartphone addiction, the results can be severe.

teen smartphone addiction

Image source: Flickr user- chrislaboule

Nowadays, seemingly everyone has a smartphone – and the numbers agree: 90% of Americans own a cell phone, with 58% owning smartphones. 44% of phone owners sleep with their phones, so that they do not accidentally miss a notification. Simply put, smartphones are ubiquitous, not to say an epidemic. For many teens, most of whom have grown up in a world dominated by smartphones, a life without them is nothing short of inconceivable. Teen smartphone addiction can go for years without getting noticed, since the internet has become an ingrained lifestyle.

Recognizing the Signs of Teen Smartphone Addiction

Battling teen smartphone addiction begins with recognizing the signs. Having the internet at the fingertips isn’t necessarily evil; if used correctly, it can be a valuable resource. The problems begin when the teen smartphone addiction takes over. Checking a phone compulsively for notifications even when the phone hasn’t vibrated is a common sign. The smartphone becomes synonymous with happiness – and not being online can lead to symptoms of withdrawal. Drastic changes, such as those in mood, appearance, routine (for instance, eating, sleeping, exercise, and hygiene habits), anxiety, and isolation are often warning signs of addiction.

Helping your teen overcome their addiction can be difficult. Quitting “cold turkey” may cause more problems than it solves; instead, try helping your teen wane their smartphone use to where it’s limited to certain times of day and specific areas of the house. It also often helps to encourage your teen to have more face-to-face interactions and explore their passions – joining a club or playing sports can often be a good way to take your teen’s mind off their smartphone.

Elevations Can Help

If you suspect your child is addicted to their smartphone, it may be time to contact professional help. Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens struggling with smartphone addiction, depression, and other emotional or behavioral issues, can help your struggling teen find success.

For more information about Elevations RTC, please call today!