All About Excessive Use Of Mobile In Teenagers

Posted On Feb 28, 2023

4 Min Read

Dr. Krithishree S S

Consultant - Psychiatry

Manipal Hospitals - Mangalore

Psychiatry Hospital in Mangalore

It’s not a surprise nowadays to see a teenage kid having their own smartphone. Of course, smartphones are handy, unlike in the past they are not just used to make calls and receive send messages. 

Smartphones are also used to browse the internet, for location and navigation, to take photos and videos and store them, to record and play music, as a display tool of time and date, stopwatch and alarm clock, to know temperature and weather details, to dictate and write notes, utilities like flashlight & calculators, also there are various social media apps that assist the teens in connecting up with. 

Parents allow teenagers that are kids aged between 12-17 years to have a cell phone of their own for various reasons. Though many appear to be always hooked to these devices many of them do use them within healthy limits. Visit a top psychiatry hospital in Mangalore for counselling if your teenage son or daughter is suffering from smartphone addiction. 

Harmful Effects of Using Smartphones 

The tricky part is many use their cell phones for various recreational activities and to relieve their stress. So, it’s very difficult for a parent to conclude if their child is using these devices within the permissive limits. However, here is the list of things one must look into to get a clear understanding of if one is into harmful use of their smartphone.

  • Frequent checking of cell phones within short bursts of time.

  • Knowingly using the phone in prohibited areas or potentially dangerous situations (eg: while driving, during class hours).

  • Sleep disturbances due to frequent phone checking.

  • Constant urge to respond immediately to messages or alerts.

  • Increased anxiety or irritability if the smartphone is not accessible or out of network coverage.

  • Increase use to cheer up their mood.

  • Increased use causes conflicts with family. 

  • Withdrawing from family or any group activities in order to use a smartphone.

  • Excessive use causes negative effects on academics, family life or emotional well-being.

If your response is ‘yes’ to most of the above-listed points then smartphone use has reached a concerning point. There are innumerable kinds of research which have shown excessive screen use to be related to serious mental health problems and memory issues. 

There is consistent evidence for associations between excessive screen time and psychiatric issues like depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD and various substance or non-substance addictions. 
In addition, it is also related to loneliness, negative emotions, stress, attention impairment, low inhibitory control/impulsivity, reduced numerical processing capacity, impaired working memory, and changes in social cognition.

Ways to Reduce the Excessive Use of Smartphones 

As soon as a parent gives their child access to a phone, they should start keeping an eye on how they use it to prevent these repercussions. Parents will have tremendous leverage over the rules when they own the smartphone. Better to start with a lot of limitations, and teach your teens about how to use it responsibly as well as mobile phone safety. With the below agreed mutual boundaries, you may inculcate it in them:

  • Educate them on the potential pros and pitfalls of screen time.

  • Ask them to turn off the phone while driving, attending classes, during mealtime, family outing, social gathering, and during sleep.

  • Negotiate the acceptable time limit on cell phones.

  • Teach them to control their impulses in replying to messages instantly.

  • Ask them to have short conversations over the phone.

  • Encourage them to track their everyday phone use with the help of the available apps.

  • As parents set a good example by limiting cell phone usage. 

  • Being respectful on messages, calls, and social media posts.

  • Ensuring the safety of self and others while browsing online.

  • Restrict cell phone use at least one hour before bedtime.

  • Encourage them to indulge in some sort of physical or relaxing activity every day.

The best way to help your teens with responsible smartphone use is by being a role model to them. This means making a conscious effort in minimizing cell phone use in front of them. Finish the phone calls when you enter the home. Spend time face-to-face at the end of the day when you meet up to discuss your day. Set a good example to make them noble citizens. Consult the best psychiatrists in Mangalore for diagnosis and treatment of excessive smartphone usage.