Teens Mobile Devices Addiction
Technology can do incredible things for our lives. Unfortunately, it can also do amazing things—as well as do great things—that we often don’t realize until it’s too late.
A generation of teens has grown up in an era in which one brand of eyeglasses and laptop provide nearly all the settings we need to obtain any number of jobs. And that includes extracurricular activities.
Look at what teens today want from life—college, a career, or a spouse. There’s no shortage of options. And so, where does the technology fit in? There are plenty of apps that allow teens to socialize with friends, learn something interesting, or do their homework.
Among teen tech habits:
The iDevice will always be with them and that experience will always be created through technology. They will always be able to carry the latest apps, games, or trends.
Teens have a need to compare themselves to friends and find ways to compare their lives to those of their peers.
Teens enjoy the convenience and satisfaction of technology, so they will use it as often as possible.
Video games are especially popular among teens, so it’s a perfect fit for entertainment.
“We all experience new technology in different ways,” says John Karagiannis, president of Evidence Improving Solutions, an organization that helps groups such as parents and educators identify and address emerging child problems. “Individual uses of the technology can range from merely being a convenience, to an addiction, to an addiction to play or a nonstop desire to be connected.”
But even for parents, some of the latest developments can be tough to grasp. And sometimes, that difficulty can turn into social and behavioral problems that become more and more of a constant presence.
How to Help Your Teen
So what can you do when it’s so difficult to recognize the differences between curiosity and addiction, passion and compulsion? Some experts suggest that one indicator is how emotionally attached teens are to their devices. When that passion disappears, that’s a sure sign they’re in trouble. And as Mavis Hetherington, the director of Deloitte’s Center for Talent Innovation, has said, “When youth are desperate to relate to others using devices, it’s a sign that the young person isn’t interested in having face-to-face relationships with others, and that individual will likely turn to non-social media or the less-addictive technology.”
To help avoid these issues, Karagiannis suggests the following:
Use an electronic device ban
Recognize that sometimes kids can help themselves
Ditch some of the technology early on if you know it’s impossible to get a grip on the issue
Help kids rethink their need for technology
Even though some teens will likely be hard-pressed to stop using technology altogether, there are definitely ways to keep teens from getting completely hooked on it, says Danielle Vogel, an associate professor at the School of Education and Human Development at Ohio State University.
You can also help give kids some guidance to help them feel comfortable using technology, especially if they’re bored.
“When a teen is fascinated by an electronic device, it can become a problem,” says Vogel.
To determine what turns a smartphone addiction into a real concern, Vogel suggests that parents help children with identification of what they’re looking for in a smart phone, much like they’d identify what makes a car interesting.
“Make sure the things the kids are looking for are not the apps,” says Vogel. “Talk to your child about what they’re actually looking for in their phones.”
Another measure parents can take: If an issue like an addicted mobile device becomes a daily occurrence, she suggests starting by having an open discussion about what may be happening.
“Talk about how you can help them feel good about being on the device,” says Vogel. “You don’t have to offer details. Just knowing that that’s what you’re doing to help your child creates greater trust.”