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Teens, Smartphones, Addiction by Rebecca Han

Teens and smartphones. Two words that go hand in hand. Somehow, one way or another, these two words almost always happen to find each in a world full of chaos. At least, that is true for around 47% of teenagers living in the US.


In a world filled with individuals living with severe FOMO and stress, cell phone usage seems to be the solution to many of these problems. It's an easy way out for most, and requires the least amount of effort to calm down their raging nerves. Today, phone addiction has become quite severe. Among teens, studies have shown that 34% of them have admitted to texting while driving. And 21% of teens have said that the first thing they do in the morning right after they get up from bed is to check their phones. Nowadays, a smartphone is a teen’s new companion, as it interferes with the daily lives for many young adults, and most often not in a good way.


Smartphone usage may be a quick source of dopamine for many, which is why it may be so addicting to many teens, but it also comes with many side effects. In our brains, we have something called a gray matter. Our brain’s gray matter does many things, such as allowing us to do basic motor skills like moving, processing information, and memorizing things. Recently, a study was done on people who struggled with phone addiction. This study did scans on the brains of these people. Results showed to us that these individuals had a decreased the size and volume of the gray matter in their brain compared to the average person.

 

Other than our brains, cell phone usage can negatively impact the mental health of teenagers. Teens who are constantly checking their phones tend to more easily struggle with getting a good night's rest. When teens decide to go onto their phones right before going to bed, their sleep cycle tends to get messed up, which can lead to troubles with falling asleep. Not getting enough sleep often causes common problems like rising levels of anxiety and stress, and can leave people in a very irritable mood for the rest of the day. 


The device that was once designed for productivity and used to allow users to gain better access to many things, such as communicating with family and friends, has evolved into a potentially harmful tool, greatly affecting the minds of many adolescents. Cell phone usage may feel fun in the moment, as it is nice to see what is going around you and going on in the world, but long usage that turns into addiction is not healthy.


1. Teenage Cell Phone Addiction: Are You Worried about Your Child?


2. Chronister, Dr. Kim, et al. “Teenage Cell Phone Addiction: Key Healthcare.” Teen Treatment Center in Los Angeles | Key Healthcare, 22 Jan. 2024, 

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