You are here

Brain Changes Found in Teens with Fixated with Smartphones

Teens overly attached to their smartphones show higher levels of a neurotransmitter that slows down brain signals, South Korean researchers reported at the recent meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The research linked the impact on the brain signals to increased levels of addiction, anxiety and depression, one radiology professor said.

So Where Did Your Time Go?

Numerous surveys have shown that kids think it is adults who are more addicted to their phones and other digital technology and they may be right. American adults will invest an average of 12 hours and 1 minute every day consuming major media this year. According to eMarketer reports, almost half of that daily consumption will be with digital media, nearly four hours with television and nearly an hour and a half with radio, while mobile multitasking is the primary driver of increased media consumption.

New Study Released on the Effect of Digital Media on Teen-Parent Relationships

Many teens and their parents agree that digital devices are a source of concern, anxiety and conflict, according to a new study from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The study, “The New Normal: Parents, Teens and Digital Devices,” is based on a on a comprehensive survey of 1,200 teens and parents. Conducted in April, it is the first such study of teens and families in Japan, where 90 percent of parents and teens own a smartphone, and the first to compare those insights to existing U.S. data from Common Sense Media on digital media use among families in North America. The study found that most parents of children ages 13-18 felt their teens were addicted to mobile devices, and many parents felt addicted themselves. In both countries, one in three teens thought their parents were addicted to their mobile devices.

In addition, American teens and parents feel that digital devices a greater source of conflict among teens and parents than do those in Japan; in fact, one in three U.S. families reported having an argument every day. More teens in the U.S. also felt that mobile device use has hurt their relationship with their parents, while in Japan, more parents felt their family relationships have been hurt by mobile device use.

Brain Chemistry and Smartphone Addiction

According to a study of college students, chemicals in the brain associated with anxiety may be contributing to the increasing amount of time individuals spend on social media. Researchers looked at how often college students check their smartphones, and found that feelings of anxiety emerge from chemicals that are released the longer they go without checking in on social media. Notifications popping up on the screen when messages arrive, and even the small numbers next to an app on the screen, also drive anxiety.

Ways to Stop Your Technology Addiction

We are living in a time when adults spend an average of three hours a day on their phones, the average work email gets read in six seconds, and forty-six percent of people would prefer to have a broken bone than a broken phone. We are living in a world with technology addiction. A new book by Adam Alter entitled Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked shares ways to survive in the age of behavioral addiction.

One of the things Atler suggests is to think about proximity. If you don’t need your phone by your side, put it somewhere you cannot easily reach it. He also advises to turn off some non-essential notifications. Another tip is to bury those apps that are the most addictive for you to the last screen page. All of these actions can help you control your phone, not the other way around. Interested in more? Take a look at this article on the Time web site.

Is Your Phone Slowing Down Your Brain?

Just by having your smartphone next to you without even using it could slow down your brain, a recent study suggests. Researchers at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin conducted a study on nearly 800 people, looking at how they performed tasks when their devices were within hands reach. The scientists found that the mere presence of your smartphone, even if it is off, can reduce brainpower. The study could give some insight on why we cannot concentrate at work or school while our smartphones are laying in front of us at our desks, and may urge parents to make sure their children and teens put their phones out of sight when they are working on homework or other projects.

Age and Wealth Factor into Technology Addiction

Teenagers and those from higher-income households may be more likely to become addicted to technology, according to an online survey given in 17 countries. About 44% of the 15 to 19 year olds who participated and 39% of people living in high income households said they struggle to take breaks from technology, but other age groups and income levels were not far behind. While only a professional can diagnosis an internet addiction, this online screening tool can help you find out if you have an unhealthy relationship with the internet.

Is the Internet Like a Drug?

A study by researchers at Swansea University and Milan University find that symptoms of Internet withdrawal -- increased anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate -- are close to what drug addicts experience. Participants in the study, ages 18 to 33, were self-confessed Internet addicts who reported spending an average of five hours a day online.

Helping Kids Develop Healthy Tech Habits

Technology has enormous benefits but can be addictive, authors Ann Myers and Jill Berkowicz write in a blog post. In this piece, they share the science behind technology use and offer tips for helping children develop a healthy relationship with technology. They also share the latest research on physical health and screen time including the physical effects of too much screen time for children and adults including dry eyes, retinal damage, neck and shoulder soreness, and slouching. There is also now research that connects too much screen time for children to diabetes in adults.  In addition, the authors look at the addiction of the instant feedback offered by digital devices and what it does to the brain.

Irresistible: Addictive Technology Explored

Curious about why everyone around you (perhaps including you) is seemingly addicted to technology? A new book entitled Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked may be able to give you some insights, including how tech companies are devoted to keeping the addiction alive, and how we need to address the issue before it literally consumes us. Many are calling this book a must read for parents in the Digital Age.

Is Technology Like a Drug?

Recent research shows fewer teenagers are using illicit drugs and alcohol, and Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, suspects that this trend directly correlates to the rise of digital devices. Volkow's upcoming research study will consider the possible role interactive media such as smartphones and computers play in the trend. Dr. Volkow describes interactive media as “an alternative reinforcer” to drugs, adding that “teens can get literally high when playing these games.”

Sleepy Kids? Were They Checking Social Media in the Middle of the Night?

Students who come to school sleepy may be tired because they wake up during the night to check social media, according to a recent study by British researchers which looked at data for more than 900 young people between ages 12 and 15. Data shows 1 in 5 students reported waking up to check social media. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that teens get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night. Making sure that a regular sleep pattern is kept is extremely important so that teens can maintain their internal clock and function optimally.

Understanding the Importance of Social Media in Teens’ Lives

It is estimated that 98% of millennials and teens are active on some form of social media. Ypulse, a site that reports on teen and millennial online behavior, recently posted five stats about social media that parents may find interesting. One finding states that 10-17-years-old “were really concerned” about what their parents posted about them on social media, and it was reported that kids were nearly three times more likely than parents to feel that there should be rules in place about what can be shared. When it comes to privacy, eight in ten millennials and teens would rather use a social network that only allows close friends to see their posts.

Could Teens Be Replacing Drug Experimentation with Social Media

Social media usage may be replacing drug use for teens, or so it appears. A Michigan University study recently revealed that in 2015 the percentage of teens using alcohol and drugs reached its lowest point since 1990, and some experts reason that the lack of offline experiences is driving the decrease. The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains: "There may be a protective effect brought about by the fact that they don't have so many occasions to get together where the use of drugs would be facilitated." 

Treating Internet Addiction

Compulsive technology use is getting a lot of media attention for the addictive dangers it poses.

Teenage Zombies Checking Their Phones

For parents of teenagers, this is probably a scene you’ve witnessed before - “Teenage zombies” - heads bowed over phones, checking and refreshing social network apps.


Teenagers spend almost nine hours each day in front of screens, including television and smartphones, according to Common Sense Media.

Want to Cut Kids’ Screen Time? Set Limits For Yourself As a Parent First

Young children learn by example, often copying the behavior of adults, which includes imitating how parents use digital devices.

Gaming – Going From Player to Designer

Got a gamer in your house?