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Why Are Teens Addicted to Phones?

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Like it or not, cell phones have become an integral part of our lives and how we communicate. With more and more households doing without the traditional landline, more of us rely on cell phones in our daily routines. Smartphones put a great deal of information at our fingertips, but they also are a source of concern. One quick look around any public place, and you’ll ask yourself why teens are addicted to phones? It can be hard to tell if text messaging with friends, the lure of social media, or boredom leads to teens relying on cell phones. Whatever the cause, the sad truth is that smartphones are harming teen mental health. At Thrive Treatment, we know how difficult it can be to navigate your teen’s cell phone use. We are here to support you as you create healthy smartphones habits for your family.

Why Are Teens Addicted to Phones?

While many of us may joke about being addicted to using our phones, phone addiction is a real phenomenon.  Researchers believe that the anticipation or rush from receiving a text or status update results in a dopamine release similar to when one uses drugs or engages in other addictive behaviors. Some have coined the term “nomophobia” or “no-more-phone phobia” to describe the symptoms when an individual is separated from their cell phone. One study showed that those teens separated from their phones had increased heart rate and blood pressure and decreased memory and attention. But why are teens addicted to phones? The fact is that smartphone use is woven into the lives of teens and is a part of the way they communicate. While past generations expressed themselves in person, today’s teens can communicate in many ways.

How To Confront Your Teen About Their Phone Use

Simply removing the smartphone from your teen’s hands won’t solve the problem. As any parent will confirm, taking away your teen’s cell phone decreases your own ability to communicate with your teen. Recognizing this will help you understand why teens are addicted to phones; they are required for nearly every aspect of how we interact with others today. So removal is not the answer. Instead, it’s about balance. Talk to your teen about seeing their phone as a communication tool to be used without letting it take over their lives. It’s also about the example you set for your teen. If your phone is in your hand all the time, theirs will be too. Perhaps you can put some boundaries around cell phone use for the entire family, including phone-free meals and family time. Additionally, you’ll want to encourage your teen to leave their cell phone outside of the bedroom so that they can get the rest that they need. Finally, confronting your teen about their cell phone use is not a one-time conversation. Instead, it begins before you give them a phone and continues from there. 

What To Do if You Think Your Teen Is Struggling With Their Mental Health

If your teen is struggling with their mental health, communication is critical. At Thrive Treatment, our treatment approach blends modern and traditional practices. We can help your teen by integrating relational and behavioral therapies and holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions. 

Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we will develop an individualized plan to help your teen through their mental health issues, both during inpatient treatment and beyond. We’re also here to support you in understanding the treatment and your role in the process as you keep your teen. So contact us today and let us help you and your teen face smartphone addiction and other mental health issues.  

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