Smartphone addiction is an addiction like any other addiction that begins with a specific reason, such as the desire to have something more than what most people have. This need often develops into an addiction because it is difficult to do without certain features or services, such as internet or navigation functions, in the smartphone. Smartphone addiction develops into a problem when users cannot live without their smartphone, particularly if the smartphone has become part of their life. In cases of smartphone addiction, the user’s dependency on his or her smartphone increases to the extent that it takes over their every day activities. In severe cases, a smartphone can be a dependency upon its user.
This type of dependency starts from kids who have grown attached to their smartphones. Kids who are not yet teenagers are at the highest risk of developing smartphone addictions since they already show clear signs of having trouble controlling their emotions and behaviors. Some of these kids are actually developing psychiatric disorders such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and ADHD. These kids may find it hard to control their emotions or behaviors because their brains haven’t fully developed yet.
When kids are exposed to smartphone apps that require them to concentrate or think long and hard, they become addicted to these activities. Apps such as game apps or university-related apps that require concentration require the user to have a high capacity for thought and focus. This in turn will result to brain activity that is hyperactive and results to the development of the brain’s neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. As a result, addicted teenagers often experience symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Another form of smartphone addiction that we should be aware of is cell phone addiction. Although the term may overlap with addiction to other gadgets such as iPods and handheld computers, there is a clear connection between cell phone addiction and social media addiction. In fact, many addicts report that their addiction starts from using their cell phones to communicate with their friends. After awhile, the phone becomes almost a necessity, and the addict relies on their cell phone more than their friends and family. This type of addiction has also been linked to an increasing number of cases of depression and other mental illnesses.
One of the biggest challenges for kids who have smartphone addiction is to explain to their parents how they really use their phones and why they can’t be without it. Many kids do not realize that smartphones are just phones – they don’t realize that they have many applications installed on the device. This makes it very tempting to download apps that are not appropriate for kids’ limited attention span and that could distract their attention from the games and applications that they do want to play. Many kids also don’t realize that once a smartphone is plugged into a computer, all of the functions and features of the unit are activated and it becomes a powerful device that can be used for homework related activities. Most parents don’t know about this and as a result, kids continue to use their smartphones to play games and perform other tasks that distract them from their own daily lives.
The good news is that there are some great programs that help kids overcome this smartphone addiction. For example, the Smartphones in Schools program from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry helps youth learn better ways to interact with their peers and teachers. This program allows students to use mobile devices to access a variety of educational and other resources that are provided to them through their school. This type of mobile technology addiction prevents kids from getting connected with their academic core. The program also provides support and teaches youngsters how to stay away from social media that can distract them from their studies.
Many teens also become addicted to text messaging. Some teenagers get so engrossed with texting that they ignore school and work obligations in order to stay in touch with their friends. There are some teens who become so addicted to text messaging that they develop insomnia or constant headaches because they cannot get enough of texting. In some cases, teenagers use their cell phones to search for specific information, such as how to commit suicide or where to get guns. Even adults are starting to fall prey to smartphone addiction because they send their partners messages on their cell phones during times when they are not at home.
All of these problems can be prevented if parents and educators start teaching the right values and lessons to teens. They should teach their children about social etiquette and the importance of maintaining relationships. Parents should also monitor the activities of their children especially when they are engaging in smartphone addiction. If a child is constantly looking up things on the internet or sending messages to people who they should not be talking to, parents should consider getting the teenager a cell phone that has limited texting capabilities or block the phone completely until they learn better life etiquette.