Just look anywhere you go and you will see a teenager glued to their screen. Asking them to get off of it is like asking an addicted smoker in NYC to go an hour without a cigarette: It’s not going to happen. In fact, teens have even been killed because they need their cell phone so badly. So exactly how are teens being affected by their phone?
There is something to be alarmed about. Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise – Helping Kids Thrive (& Survive) in Their Digital Age, agrees that you have to deal with anxious and depressed teens. “Teenagers have a lot going on in their mind and are stressed out,” she says. “But having a phone on them that is constantly reminding them of all of these worries can’t be helping.”
“All those who study the internet and technologies such as social media in a serious and rigorous manner will have much more nuanced positions,” says Sam Miller, a teen life coach at Parenting Teenagers Academy. “There are a multitude of factors: social, cultural and, yes, technological. It is always much more complicated than technology causes this or that.”
Without going so far as to foresee the disaster announced by many teen health experts, those consulted by youth organizations are concerned and consider that these American psychologists raise important questions. This is the case of Jane Franklin, pediatrician specializing in adolescents at the Mayo Clinic, who is particularly concerned about the impact of technology on the duration and quality of sleep of young people.
“Studies have indicated that teenagers are not getting good sleep because of the amount of time they are spending on their phone”.
Does my teenager have a cell phone addiction?
If you think your teen is suffering from a smartphone addiction, there are signs and symptoms to watch for in your teen:
- Significant weight change.
- Change in diet.
- Changing sleep patterns.
- Depressed or irritable mood.
- Flat effect or facial expression.
- A little interest in the activities they found once enjoyable.
- Difficulty paying attention.
- Withdrawal from interaction or social activities.
- Low self esteem.
- Neglecting other activities and is constantly on his phone.
- Sore aches or headaches.
- Experience anxiety without the phone or service.
- Experience the “ghost vibration syndrome”, that is to say checking your phone when it has not vibrated or rang.
- Use your mobile phone while driving or crossing the street.
If you are concerned about your teenager’s cellphone addiction, talk to your doctor about treatment for smartphone or social media addiction. But if you want to take matters in your own hands, here are four things to consider if you want to help your teen:
1. One Thing At A Time
Internet access means unlimited access to almost everything. “We can encourage our children to learn one thing at a time. Maybe we can start with a game and texting, but not start with games, texting, social media and everything else, so that they develop skills in each of these spheres individually, ”suggests Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise – Helping Kids Thrive (& Survive) in Their Digital Age .
2. Manage Notifications
The sinews of war for many social media and apps is having and keeping our attention. “We must review the place of technology in our lives. In particular, notifications, which have been developed expressly to create a certain addiction, ”suggests Robert Stevens, professor in the department of social and public communication at UNM. How to stay connected in the present moment when your phone beeps constantly because Facebook, Snapchat, Messenger or Instagram demand attention?
3. Good Support
Sam Miller has a great formula for talking about the role of parents in the taming of new technologies. He says: “Mentoring, not monitoring”. In other words: parents must accompany children and adolescents, not put them under surveillance. “Monitoring online activities can be a part of mentoring, but we shouldn’t do that,” he insists. Catching our kids when they do bad things doesn’t show them how to do it right. He is also convinced that teens want to show what they do online and that it is enough to ask them to introduce us to the applications they use.
4. Lead By Example
Exasperated to see your teenager, or even your child, glued to a tablet or a phone? “For adults too, it has become a daily companion,” observes sociologist Jim Crow. Do you watch your emails and texts at the table? Immerse yourself in your device as soon as you have a minute? Do you catch it at the slightest beep? Have your own children ever blamed you for not giving them your full attention because of your phone? Imposing rules on yourself is a good way to show limits to your children.