Smartphones can be addictive, they alter moods and often trigger enjoyable feelings. Smartphones allow us to seek reward such as video, Twitter feeds and news updates in addition to email anytime and anywhere. This is why most people check their phones compulsively and the more one checks it, the more the urge to use it.
More than any other gadget, smartphones are small in size, easy to use, have cheap apps and has constant connectivity which makes it steal from us the opportunity to maintain our attention, to engage into contemplation and reflection, or even to be alone with our thoughts.
Teenage is the most challenging stage in life, this is where everything done has to be unique. The way they dress is difference. The way they act is different and even the way they speak. This is where smartphones comes in.
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Challenges smartphones create for teenagers
Social media acts like a platform for comparison among teenagers. The majority of teenager are obsessed with self-promotion and comparing themselves to their friends on social media in compulsive ways and trying to separate them from their phones is to separate them from the entire world.
Selfies and self-obsession
The world of selfies is taking teens into a place of being in love with their own images or making them to be obsessed with other images. This makes selfies a determiner of beauty, worth and popularity. If they do not get likes and comments as expected, they assume they are ugly, stupid, worthless and not good enough.
Inability to be alone
Teenagers fear being alone. Smartphones make them feel occupied and they hardly get a break from unless they are grounded from social media.
How to get teens off their smartphones
Be a role model
Parents should be careful of how they handle their smartphones when teens are around. For instance, a parent driving and using a cell phone at the same time. This alarming behavior does not go unnoticed by teens.
Parents must encourage smartphone free time with friends and family and make sure that smartphones are handed over each night before homework or before bed. Teenagers need some amount of time alone free from social media, so they can grow in their confidence of being able to be alone and fill well about themselves.
Encourage in person socialization
Teens should engage in other activities such as games to keep them fit and busy rather than being glued to the phone. Parents should also allow teens to spend time with friends to help them gain more confidence in themselves.
Talk to teens
Parents should keep teenagers in line with the development of their person, not just their image. Teens need to know how much they are missing by being too much on the phone.
In conclusion, social media has taken over the lives of teenagers. They spend most of their time interacting in media than interacting in person. This pulls them away from responsibilities in life that will push them forward. Teenagers should be helped to balance the challenges social media brings with the needs the real world requires of them.