Teenagers have become attached to their mobile devices

. . . and that’s a problem

Teenagers+have+grown+to+become+reliant+on+their+phones+and+while+it+can+sometimes+be+beneficial%2C+it+also+can+negatively+affect+them.

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Teenagers have grown to become reliant on their phones and while it can sometimes be beneficial, it also can negatively affect them.

Emili Cruz Sosa, Content Editor

On an average school morning, a teenager typically wakes up to the sound of their alarm that is powered by their electronic device. Upon turning off their alarm, the first thing they do is check the time as well as any applications that can be found on their device. Some teenagers check their email account, while others check their social media accounts. 

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has been around for over a year, adolescents have become much more reliant on technology and devices such as their cell phones not only to complete any school work they might have been assigned, but they also use these devices as what they believe to be one of their only sources of entertainment during these times.

Due to this toxic attachment that many teenagers have developed to their cell phones, they run the risk of suffering from nomophobia. Defined by Cambridge Dictionary, nomophobia refers to the “fear or worry at the idea of being without your cell phone or unable to use it.” 

In the United States, around 65 percent of people sleep with their cell phones, with the percentage being higher for both college and high school students. Furthermore, 66 percent of adults in the United States suffer from nomophobia. This phobia has contributed greatly to the terrifying bond that teenagers have with their phones. 

According to ABC News, teenagers on average spend around seven hours on their cell phones. At the age of 11, more than 50 percent of kids have access to their very own smartphones. This addiction that many adolescents have to their cell phones can greatly affect different aspects of their lives. 

One of the challenges that can be derived from an excessive amount of cell phone use, especially in teenagers, is a negative effect on mental health. When teenagers are asked to power off their cell phones for a specific period of time, many start to feel different levels of anxiety because they fail to comprehend what they will spend their time on now that they don’t have their cell phones available. Once these adolescents are given the opportunity to view their phones, most of them spend their time on applications such as Instagram and Snapchat. These types of applications can be mentally draining and cause teens to feel depressed due to the fact that they are constantly comparing their lives to the lives of others.

Another effect that this toxic cell phone attachment has on teens is the lack of sleep that many teens are receiving due to the amount of time they spend on their devices. Many young adults stay up late at night binge-watching their favorite shows on Netflix, texting friends, watching YouTube videos, and doing similar activities which decrease the amount of time they spend sleeping. The blue light that emits from smartphones suppresses the amount of melatonin that our body releases, which can be quite harmful because the body believes that it is still daytime, therefore not allowing teens to feel tired. 

An unhealthy amount of time spent on a cell phone by a teenager can also affect the relationship they have with their family. When a teenager or another family member is constantly on their phone during family gatherings, it can cause strain on the family. Family members can also feel disconnected to the teenager because of the lack of communication between the teenager and the family member. Furthermore, being addicted to using a mobile device can cause the teenager to miss many activities that their family has planned. 

Although spending time without a cell phone can be challenging for some adolescents, here are some activities that can be done alternatively that do not require the use of an electronic device:

  • Read a book that can be found around the house.
  • Go for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Try to complete a jigsaw puzzle within a certain amount of time.
  • Try to learn something new (ex: learn how to knit, learn how to play an instrument, learn how to cook, etc…)

Cell phones are devices that certainly provide people with helpful tools, but once a teenager becomes addicted to the device, it turns into something that can potentially become a threat to the emotional and mental health of that being.