12 Signs Your Teen Is Addicted to the Smartphone
I'll admit it. Smartphones are pretty addictive. They're fun to use, make it easy to stay in touch with anybody no matter where you are, and can do just about everything. I'm pretty sure you could spend a whole day on the couch without ever getting up except to go to the bathroom and eat – and maybe your teen has.
Have you seen your texting teenager and wondered whether they're really addicted to their smartphone?
While true “Internet addiction” is rare – and it's a subject of debate in the medical and pediatric field as to whether that phrase should even be in use – here are some signs that your teen might have a serious problem with his or her smartphone:
- Becomes anxious, moody, or grouchy when kept away from the phone
- Staying up late or waking up at night to text or use the smartphone
- Constantly breaking school or house rules that forbid phone use at certain times
- Loss of interest in activities that don't include the phone
- Checks the phone constantly for messages, even when in the middle of something else
- Has a name for his or her phone
- Frequently texts people who are in the same room or building
- Uses the phone in the shower (yes, teens really do this)
- Spends a lot of money on apps, ringtones, music downloads, custom face plates for the phone, etc.
- Frequently isolates self in a group social setting (hanging out with friends, family mealtime) to use the phone
- Inability to focus on schoolwork or studying due to the phone
- Interrupts face-to-face conversations to answer calls or texts often
You probably checked “yes” to a lot of these questions, but don't worry. It doesn't mean that your child is unbalanced or developing abnormally. In today's world of connectivity, many teens just haven't learned the proper balance between staying connected and going unplugged. And the behaviors of their friends, parents, and teachers is not always role model material.
If you're truly concerned about your child's phone use, talk about it. Start with setting out some basic Internet safety rules, as well as some agreed-upon off-limits times for the phone (during class,church, or dinner, for example.)
Being connected 24/7 isn't a problem, as long as your teen knows how to appropriately manage it.
Jenny Evans is a mother of four and a blogger specializing in parenting, childhood, and family issues.