Smartphones - an emerging trend of addiction

tour special needs family

Does it feel like your child always has his or her smartphone in hand?

He or she is not alone in this technology dependency. It’s estimated that 78% of all American teens own a cell phone. About 47% of these are smartphones!

Smartphones can be wonderful communication devices. It’s easy to search for directions or look up information with a voice command or app. Friends can send photos back and forth, message, or talk to their friends and family from anywhere. All this connectivity lies within a tiny rectangle that fits in the palm of your hand and uses a swipe of your index finger to work.

Smartphones do add value to our lives, but many people are beginning to see an emerging trend of addiction to the many conveniences offered by smartphones and mobile devices.

Look around any street, restaurant, or school and you will see the tell-tale sign of our society’s reliance on cell phones. Here is a statistic rundown of how teens are embracing smartphones:

● 100 messages a day is the average texts a teen girl sends, boys follow behind with about 50.
● 39% of teens use their phones to talk with each other every day.
● 29% use social media to share messages.
● 22% instant message others daily
● 74% access the Internet with their mobile device
● 25% primarily use cell phones to access the Internet

With the popularity of handheld devices, it should come as no surprise when almost one-third of the entire American populationbelieve they are addicted to their smartphones. This isn’t counting the other 9% that are still on the fence if they suffer from this affliction. Research shows that people who might suffer from smartphone addiction have similar brain patterns to addicts of substances like cocaine or alcohol.

Commonly referred to as nomophobia, smartphone addiction is not recognized as an official disorder in the medical books. However, smartphones can become a problem when they interfere with daily living and activities. The data researchers are collecting is showing that many people suffer anxiety when separated from technology.

Things To Be On The Lookout For

Like any addiction, people eventually build up a tolerance to the enjoyable feelings they receive from Snapchatting or playing a new game. As the tolerance levels, the addict will seek more and more interactions to get the same “high”. Stress, sleepless nights, and binge texting might signal that a teen has crossed the line of recreational smartphone use and has reached addicted levels.

If you suspect your child is addicted to his smartphone. Here are a few signs and symptoms to be aware of:

● Discomfort when not allowed to use a smartphone
● A change in eating patterns or loss of weight
● Inability to sleep
● Anxiety
● Often checks his or her phone because of perceived vibrations
● Seclusion from friends, activities, and family

Tips To Curb smartphone Addiction

Listed below are some strategies to implement to weaken the addictive trance a smartphone might have over a child:

● Keep phones out of the bathroom, bedroom, or other private areas.
● Bring back family dinners. Take a break from technology and reconnect as a family.
● Designate hours of use. Develop a family plan that limits phone usage during the day and have a power down time.

● Actively monitor his or her smartphone. Be honest with him and stay updated on his activity if you suspect a problem is brewing.

● Seek professional help. Addictions can be devastating. If you suspect a real problem look into a counselor or therapist for support.

● Model healthy smartphone relationships for your children to learn from.

Sharing Control

Many children who find it difficult to interact face-to-face with their peers might prefer the anonymity cell phones offer. Often these children are prone to smartphone addiction, because the technology offers a chance to interact with others in a safe zone. It is easy to withdraw into the cyberworld where they can put their guard down or reinvent a persona--especially when relationships are difficult in the real world.

Parents need to be aware of the potential dangers that unmoderated smartphone use can create. Taking back control can help avoid problems from developing or affecting a child’s future. Smartphones are wonderful tools that can open a whole new level of information and friendships if used correctly.

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