Peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, teenagers and technology, ketchup and mustard are pairs belong together. Yet one of these pairings can spell out trouble with a capital T. Teens and their beloved smartphones are a common sight in today’s society yet a growing attachment to technology can prove to be an increasing problem. As more and more teenagers receive cellphones they begin the process of using the phone as a coping tool to keep their ever-changing emotions in check.
Teens rely on their phones to maintain an active social life due to a smartphone’s ability to connect to various social apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Yik Yak, and more. While many teens are fine with a strong attachment to technology there are some that attempt to break away only to be drawn back in again. In the Los Angeles Times article Teens’ Heavy Cellphone Use Could Signal Unhappiness, Study Finds, researchers are concerned over how teenagers can spend an hour or more on their phones each day which is equivalent to how much time they will devote to homework.
“A central concern for teenagers is being in touch with friends and drawing boundaries about who’s in and who’s out. People who are anxious and depressed are concerned about whether they are in or out and naturally often look at their cellphones to see if they’ve gotten answers to the text messages they sent out.”– James Katz, Professor of Communications at Rutgers University
In fact according to the same article, if you notice a teenager who is not sending texts or making calls it could possibly be a sign that they are anxious or depressed. In It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, the third chapter covers addiction to technology in teens which echoes the similar concerns. Author Danah Boyd states that, “teens lack the capacity to maintain a healthy relationship with social media.”
Teens are constantly checking their phones for satisfaction and acceptance from their peers. Parents, friends, and teachers should monitor a teen’s behaviors to help combat any issues that may stem from online social problems.
Advancements in technology are not going to slow down and one should be prepared to handle the emotional rollercoaster technology can bring forth. Quitting technology in one swoop will only make you crave it more, but by pledging to lessen your time with technology daily can be a great place to begin.