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More than just teenage moodiness?

  • Posted on Feb 2, 2018

A new study on teenager’s mood shows a sharp drop as cell phones became more common place. In a survey of 8, 10 and 12 graders, when smartphone ownership rose to 50%, teens reported lowered self-esteem, life satisfaction and happiness.

The more hours spent on the internet, social media, texting, gaming and chatting…the higher rise in teenage depression and anxiety.

Currently 89% of teens have a smart phone.

One of the authors of the study, Jean Twenge, a psychology professor, took her kids’ Kindle Fires and put them in the drawer!

Parents have reported concerns about screen devices being addictive. They’ve noticed that outdoor activities may raise their kid’s mood but kids are often irritable when gaming a lot. Parents are worried and confused about what to do.

Teenagers without cell phones are typically depressed and feel they don’t fit in. So putting them in the drawer may not be the solution. The study says that 1-5 hours (per week, not per day!) is okay. Over 20 hours per week…that’s a problem.

Interestingly, some Silicon Valley tech families send their children to technology free school and Bill Gates restricts his children from cell phones until they are 14. If they are developing these products and worried about exposing their own children, perhaps we need to pay attention.

Investors in Apple recently signed an open letter asking for more options to regulate phones…such as shutting them off after a certain time period. We’ll see what the response is…

 

Dr. Badaracco, Pediatrician and author of “The Oath” series