Teen Cell Phone Addiction
Table of Contents
- Effects of Teen Smartphone Addiction
- Teens and Social Media Use
- Does My Teen Have a Cell Phone Addiction?
- Treatment for Teens
Children are learning how to use cell phones and receiving their own at younger ages than ever before. Since teenagers have grown up in an era where cell phone use has been ingrained in them at such a vulnerable age, they are very susceptible to developing an addiction to their smartphones and/or social media.
The human brain isn’t finished developing until around the age of 25 years old.6
If a child or teenager suffers from a cell phone addiction, it could have negative implications on brain development.
Research has revealed that there are a few adolescent personality traits associated with Internet addiction, which is closely related to smartphone addiction. These traits include:5
- High harm-avoidance.
- These individuals tend to be worrisome, fearful, pessimistic, and shy.17
- Altered reward dependence.
- The teen becomes dependent on rewards associated with the internet or cell phone as opposed to natural rewards such as spending time with friends and family, getting good grades, or partaking in hobbies.18
- Low self-esteem.
- Low cooperation.
Effects of Teen Smartphone Addiction
Smartphone addiction is closely related to Internet addiction, which is considered an impulse-control addiction. Teens who are addicted to the Internet tend to experience the following:
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- Decreased brain connectivity in parts of the brain that regulate emotions, decision-making, and impulse-control.4
- An increased likelihood to consume alcohol and use tobacco.11
- An increased likelihood to have poor dietary habits.11
- Increased levels of social loneliness.12
Additionally, addiction to a cell phone could lead to a number of harmful ramifications such as:
- Text neck.14
- Neck pain associated with looking down at a cell phone for too long.
- Digital eye strain.13
- Burning and itching of eyes and blurred vision associated with looking at a screen for at least 2 hours.
- Car accidents.15
- Research has revealed that texting and driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
Teens and Social Media Use
Teenagers utilize many different forms of social media–such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter–which allow them to connect with their peers. While these applications provide the user with the ability to connect with others all around the world and access news and information, they also can lead to compulsive and problematic cell phone use, cyberbullying, sexting, and Facebook depression, a term coined by researchers to define the depression associated with excessive social media use.6
Research has revealed:7
- 92% of teens say that they go online daily, while 24% consider themselves to be online “almost constantly.”
- Over half of teenagers go online many times a day.
- 94% of teenagers access the Internet via their smartphones at least once a day, if not more.
- Facebook is the most-commonly visited social media site for teens (71%), followed by Instagram (52%), then Snapchat (44%).
Does My Teen Have a Cell Phone Addiction?
If you suspect that your teenager is suffering from an addiction to his or her smartphone, there are some signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for in your teen:
- Significant weight change.
- Change in diet.
- Change in sleep patterns.
- Depressed or irritable mood.
- Flat affect or facial expression.
- Little interest in activities they once found enjoyable.
- Difficulties paying attention.
- Withdrawal from social interaction or activities.
- Low self-esteem.
- Neglecting other activities and is constantly on his or her phone.
- Sore neck or headaches.
- Experiencing anxiety when without his or her cell phone or service.
- Experiencing “phantom vibration syndrome,” which means checking his or her phone when it hasn’t vibrated or rung.
- Using his or her cell phone while driving or crossing the street.
If you are concerned about your adolescent’s cell phone addiction, talk to his or her pediatrician about treatment for a smartphone or social media addiction or call the number above to learn more about recovery.
Treatment for Teens
Although cell phone addiction is a relatively new behavioral addiction that isn’t formally in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) yet, there are a few different rehabilitation centers that specialize in treating teen smartphone addiction, such as:
- Restart Center.1
- Outpatient teen treatment.
- Individualized assessments.
- Counseling with certified staff.
- Life coaching to address interpersonal and developmental deficits.
- Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Program.8
- Puts limitations on use while in treatment.
- Individual therapy.
- Assesses for co-occurring disorders.
- Family Boot Camp.9
- Treats teens with a cell phone addiction and their parents.
- Wilderness expedition.
- Guided by therapists and outdoor specialists.
- Learn to live without technology.
If you suspect that your teen suffers from an addiction to his or her cellphone, it can be battled. Help your teen regain control of his or her life. Don’t hesitate to call to learn about different rehabilitation options available for him or her.
- ReSTART Center for Technology Sustainability. (2015). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.netaddictionrecovery.com/
- Camp Grounded – Summer Camp for Adults – Digital Detox. (2014). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://campgrounded.org/
- Hong S-B, Zalesky A, Cocchi L, Fornito A, Choi E-J, Kim H-H, et al. (2013) Decreased Functional Brain Connectivity in Adolescents with Internet Addiction. PLoS ONE 8(2): e57831. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057831
- Kim, H. (2013). Exercise rehabilitation for smartphone addiction. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 9(6), 500-505. doi:10.12965/jer.130080
- O’keeffe, G., & Clarke-Pearson, K. (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. Pediatrics, 127(4), 800-804.
- Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. (2015, April 8). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/
- Teen Cell Phone Addiction Treatment – Paradigm Malibu. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://paradigmmalibu.com/teen-cell-phone-addiction-treatment/
- Teen Cell Phone Addiction. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://familybootcamp.org/cell-phone-addiction/
- Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
- Kim, Y., Park, J., Kim, S., Jung, I., Lim, Y., & Kim, J. (2010). The effects of Internet addiction on the lifestyle and dietary behavior of Korean adolescents. Nutrition Research and Practice Nutr Res Pract, 4(1), 51-51. doi:10.4162/nrp.2010.4.1.51
- Pontes, H., Griffiths, M., & Patrao, I. (2014). Internet Addiction and Loneliness Among Children and Adolescents in the Education Setting: An Empirical Pilot Study. Aloma, 32(1), 91-98.
- Digital Eye Strain Report 2015. (2015). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.thevisioncouncil.org/digital-eye-strain-report-2015
- Hansraj, K. (2014). Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head. (25), 277-279. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25393825
- Dangers of Texting Whilst Driving. (2008). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.trl.co.uk/case-studies/behaviour-dangers-of-texting-whilst-driving/
- Young Adult Development Project. (2008). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://hrweb.mit.edu/worklife/youngadult/brain.html
- Cheung, G (Aug 2007). “Stability of the harm avoidance personality trait in late-life depression”. Int Psychogeriatr 19(4): 778-80. doi:10.1017/s1041610207005194
- Han, D., Lee, Y., Yang, K., Kim, E., Lyoo, I., & Renshaw, P. (2007). Dopamine Genes and Reward Dependence in Adolescents with Excessive Internet Video Game Play. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 1(3), 133-138. doi:10.1097/ADM.0b013e31811f465f