Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10th, this is a piece on how what has become an essential everyday tool can be used sometimes too often.
According to a recent report, nearly 50% of teenagers feel strongly attached to their smartphone or other mobile devices. 95% of teens have access to a smartphone and almost half go online several times a day. You would probably agree with me, then, that having a mobile device can be very useful. You can quickly access information, find directions if you get lost, and ask for help if you urgently need to. Very few teenagers, however, realise the potential perils of modern technology. Here are some, and their symptoms.
You might feel a strong need to check your phone every few minutes. But perhaps you might not be able to explain why. It could make you irritable, anxious or frustrated if you can’t. You might become convinced you need to respond messages or alerts immediately, that they cannot wait.
Young people with a form of phone addiction often prefer virtual communications as opposed to interacting face-to-face. For example, cancelling social occasions, family events or meeting up with friends, in favour of online activities.
Social media provides numerous opportunities to compare yourself with others. Obviously one way to access it is via Smartphone. This can lead to constantly checking up on what peers are doing and possibly getting the idea that you are missing out on something important. Self-esteem can be negatively impacted.
Depression can also become an issue if someone feels deeply isolated. In the world of social media, some teenagers can feel that their life is dull and meaningless just because they constantly compare themselves to the virtual images of others.
You might be wondering where to turn if you have an overly strong attachment to your smartphone. As a first step, you could find it helpful to have a conversation with your parents or guardians. There are numerous forms of support available for young people. It is always wise to seek help!
Henrietta Nagy is a seasoned portfolio worker with over 10 years’ experience in the UK education sector. Henrietta writes educational content, designs academic courses, delivers university lecturers, mentors entrepreneurs, and provides career development coaching. With 9 years of higher education studies internationally (including an MBA), she has worked with CEOs, academics, scholars, managers, women entrepreneurs, academic administrators, and other consultants.