It’s no secret that the advent of cell phones and social media has changed the way our teenagers communicate with their families and peers. Our teens are increasingly connected electronically, swiping, snapping, and sending information over the devices at unheard of rates. Recent data from the Pew Internet Research Center shows that only 12 percent of teenagers do not have access to a cell phone. That implies that 88 percent of our children are linked and mobile!
Technology, Devices, and Health… Oh, My!
While technology offers our society many benefits, our love of handheld devices affects a teen’s health in surprising ways. Parents need to be aware of how technology can interfere with circadian rhythms and increase anxiety levels. There is new research emerging that shows how multitasking affects brain functions and possibly links teen cell phone use with increased risks for developing brain tumors as adults.
If those health concerns aren’t enough bad enough, there are also new studies relating how distracted living leads to more accidents, how posture and body movements while using cell phones cause physical afflictions in our spines and joints, technology is also used by teens as a vehicle for establishing eating disorders on pro-Ana sites, addictions are easily formed in a developing teen brain, and more.
Understanding a Teen’s Technology Use:
Many parents are unaware of how a teen’s love of technology can negatively affect their health. Parents of teenagers are finding themselves in foreign territory that baby books and parenting guides failed to prepare us for adequately. As our kids turn to the digital world for a majority of their communication and interaction, secrecy is often a hurdle for parents to overcome. This need for teen privacy and the parental need to be involved can develop into a power struggle with our kids.
With over 92 percent of teens logging online every day, it is important to realize that four out of five adolescents try to hide their digital activity from the adults in their lives. It should come as no surprise that 67 percent of parents worry about the effect of technology, social media, and cell phones are having on our children. That can lead to many of us trying to walk the fine line between spying and monitoring a child’s device use.
For more information on healthy smartphone monitoring, read the following infographic: