Disconnected Teens - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Disconnected Teens

Source: KAUZ Source: KAUZ
WICHITA FALLS, TX -

Half of all U.S. teenagers say they are addicted to their cell phones.

Almost 90% of U.S. teens have cell phones. 75% have smartphones and about 15% have basic cell phones. While these can be helpful tools for parents to keep track of teens and for teens to use in case of emergencies - a survey by Common Sense Media shows more than half of teenagers say they are addicted to their phones, which can have some mental and physical side effects.

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, texting and endless selfies. Although cell phone addiction isn't a medically diagnosed illness, experts say the definition of addiction is the same across the board – it’s how dependent you are on something.

Teens can know if they're addicted to their cell phone by the way they feel when they're without it. As soon as it gets taken away does it feel like an extension of your body is gone? That kind of anxiety is a sure fire way to know that you may be a little bit too involved and the boundaries aren't very clear between you and your cell phone."

Overdoing cell phone usage can also be detrimental to the brain.

"Cell phones effect the brain negatively because it's an overstimulation of the brain and, of course, teens and younger kids are much more susceptible to that than an adult whose brain is already formed.

Doctors say excessive use of cell phones by teens can cause health problems not only because of the overstimulation but also behavioral problems and poor social interaction.

These kids don't know how to communicate. They dont know how to look you in the eye, look you in the face and have a conversation with you. They can't even communicate with their friends because its all via a screen and texting and it's really doing a number on our teens.

Teens who keep the phone on all night near or on the bed run the risk of not getting enough rest.

"It really disrupts their sleep patterns. They never get the good REM sleep that they need. They don't get good sleep and that really has a detrimental effect."

Experts say parents should set limits to help teens stop their cell phone addictions. They need to take the phone out of the environment, when necessary, if the teen refuses. It helps for families to have a designated area where everyone turns off their phones and leaves them at bedtime. They advise having certain times throughout the day when you turn off your phone, such as at dinner. They also encourage teens to practice mindfulness by focusing on being in the moment instead of always on the phone.

“Teens need to stop using their cell phone as a security blanket and start connecting with people on a day to day basis.”

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved KAUZ News.

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