Smartphones Are Destroying Teens’ Mental Health

teens using smartphonesThis generation of teens has unlimited access to information stored in their pockets. Yet relying so much on their smartphones might not be the best habit for their mental health.

“They’re more likely than young people just five or 10 years ago to say that they’re anxious, that they have symptoms of depression, that they have thought about suicide or have even [attempted] suicide,” San Diego State University professor Jean Twenge told NPR’s All Things Considered. “There’s a really consistent trend with mental health issues increasing among teens.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20 percent of teens aged 13 to 18 live with a mental health condition.

The Pew Research Center says an estimated three quarters of the teenage population had a cell phone or access to one in 2015. All but 10 percent of teens with smartphones used text messaging as a primary form of communication. Twenge worries this is seriously hurting them psychologically — especially in teens who spend a lot of time on social media apps.

“Given that using social media for more hours is linked to more loneliness,” she said, “and that smartphones were used by the majority of Americans around 2012, and that’s the same time loneliness increases, that’s very suspicious. You can’t absolutely prove causation, but by a bunch of different studies, there’s this connection between spending a lot of time on social media and feeling lonely.”

A study published in the Depression and Anxiety Journal suggests young adults are at greater depression risk if they use social media excessively. Therefore, the negative impact smartphones and social media has on teens can likely extend into their adult lives.

Twenge suggests parents hold off on granting their teens smartphone access as long as possible. There are also apps that allow parents to control how much time their teen spends on the phone daily.

Also always keep an eye out for warning signs of depression and other mental health conditions. Encourage your teen to speak with a mental health provider to get them the treatment they need.

Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?

One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.

But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.
Take the Test