Are Your Children Addicted To Their Smartphone?

The smartphone has turned millions of people into addicts as we check them every few minutes for the latest update. But there is growing concern about their effects on the mental health of children and young people.

Parents beware

Parents have inherited a new job that consists of making sure their offspring don’t spend too much time on their smartphone. They worry about the damage to developing brains as children stare at screens for too long each day. Research highlights how excessive screen time rewires the brain and makes it more difficult to concentrate long enough to read a book or even a detailed newspaper article. Resisting the ping of the smartphone prompts impatience, ill temper and feelings of panic as the user suffers from a fear of missing out. The smartphone triggers involuntary physical and mental responses to its demand for attention as it steals our focus from those around us.

Children constantly bargain with parents for more phone time, which reduces time spent on other more social activities. Taking away a young persons phone is a guaranteed way to get their attention. Such reaction to the threat of withdrawal is predictable however as the richest technology companies in the world employ the best brains in the world to design smartphones to be highly addictive. The main purpose of such hidden and immoral design is to increase the number of hours users engage as a way to sell advertising.

It is reported however that many parents working in senior roles at technology companies limit their children’s access to smartphones. The irony is that the people who design such addictive products protect their families from any harmful effects. In a number of cases, former technology leaders are now using their incredible wealth to highlight the dangers of excessive smartphone use for young people.

Taking back control

Reducing smartphone use is difficult, particularly when it comes to how children communicate with their friends. But enabling addiction to products designed to trigger significant withdrawal symptoms is wrong.

When smartphones have a worryingly negative influence on children’s lives, it is time to restrict access in a similar way to cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs. When smartphones are designed to release a hit of dopamine to keep the user hooked, it is time to regulate the industry. When smartphones are designed to exploit the vulnerable, it is time to legislate. When almost infinite resources are used by some of the leading companies in the world to addict children, it is time to say stop. When those responsible for creating the addiction do everything they can to protect their loved ones, it is time to act.

So, children and young people are addicted to smartphones because smartphones are designed to be addictive by an industry that urgently needs to change or face regulation.