For the sake of our children, we need to talk about smartphones. There’s one in practically every teen’s pocket. According to surveys, around 75 percent of teens own or have access to a smartphone. So, why is this a big deal? Smartphone addiction.

I know it sounds ridiculous–how could you possibly become addicted to a technological device? Well, it’s not so much the device than what it does. It gives us a level of connectivity and media exposure that’s unprecedented. While this obviously has many benefits, the damages are becoming clearer each day.

Smartphones have changed the way teens communicate with not just their peers, but the world. They now have access to hordes of unfiltered information and many parents let their teens use it without any supervision or constraints. Therein lies the problem.   

Unfettered access is leading to serious issues

During adolescence, we shape our self-identity. It’s one of the most essential and most vulnerable moments of our lives. What we form in adolescence is difficult to completely change in adulthood–and smartphones may be affecting this process negatively.

Young girls especially struggle with it. For example, a teen girl may feel compelled to constantly scroll through her Instagram feed, comparing herself to her peers or celebrities. Not only should she not compare herself, but the content she compares herself to is doctored.

Social media provides a platform to post your “perfect” self and it often becomes unhealthy. The “perfect” life with a “perfect” body, “perfect” house, and “perfect” family simply does not exist. Yet young girls are becoming obsessed with it.

They become entranced with what they’re lacking and where, leading to low self-esteem and self-worth. A smartphone addiction can easily be born out of this type of compulsion. Many parents just allow complete access without any rules around it–this is a mistake. 

Is smartphone addiction a real threat?

Absolutely. Addiction comes in many forms–drugs aren’t the only thing you can become addicted to. You can become addicted to behaviors; smartphone addiction is in this category.

Studies have linked it to the dopamine release we get when someone “likes” a photo or shares something we posted. This release is similar to when gamblers win money–and gambling can most certainly be an addiction.

Some researchers even believe that the recent spike in depression among youth and smartphone use are related. Depression rates have increased by 60 percent in young people in 6 years–that’s an almost unmatched increase.

Smartphone use obviously poses a risk, though we may not hold all the answers to why and how. Move forward with caution. If you’re struggling with your daughter’s tech use, put some usage rules in motion. Doing nothing is what will lead to serious problems.

Solstice East is here to help your daughter

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. Our students struggle with anxiety, depression, smartphone addiction, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems.

We have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, physical fitness. We also offer a supportive staff, cutting-edge academics, addiction therapy, equine therapy, and psychiatric services. At Solstice, we help set the stage for the infusion of light into the previously darkened lives of the families we serve.

For more information about how we treat smartphone addiction at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.