Smartphone addiction in children

Excessive or compulsive use of smartphones for mostly internet related activities, these activities include virtual relationships, information overload, cybersex, and other online compulsions like gambling, shopping except gaming which in itself is a diagnosable disorder.

What comes to mind when talking about Smartphone addiction?

Children with Smartphone addiction sit in the corner with a Smartphone, not looking up, they sheepishly scan the room for parents making sure that the Smartphone is not taken away from them. They do not take interest in other things and go on using the phone till they are stopped. They appear resentful when the phone is taken away and are overjoyed or relieved when they get it.

Why are smartphones addictive?

  • Easy to carry 
  • Ready to use makes it tolerable
  • Used as a remedy for anxiety, low mood, stress, awkwardness in social situations
  • Personality traits like sensation seeking, low attention span, introversion

Causes of Smartphone addiction in children

  • Lack of role models: adults and parents themselves use Smartphone indiscriminately
  • Lack of supervision over the activities chosen by the children
  • Lack of opportunities to play and interact with others

Should children be allowed smartphones at all?

Children and Toddlers have no need and shouldn’t be given smartphones, whereas for elder and adolescent children it’s better if they use a PC than a smartphone.

Problems caused by excessive Smartphone use are:

  • Increased loneliness
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Exacerbates ADHD and conduct problems
  • Lack of social personality development
  • Disturbs sleep
  • Decreased ability to concentrate and think deeply

How to talk to children about excessive Smartphone use?

  • Don’t demonize smart devices and technology: they are a necessary evil
  • Make it a “WE” issue: Not us v/s them
  • Use research wisely: children come up with counter facts
  • Talk about balancing life with Smartphone use: work first>> get active>> educational use>>free Smartphone

Prevention and treatment of Smartphone addiction

  • Parental Smartphone use decrease
  • Set limits, give the phone as a privilege
  • make phone free times and zone
  • no taking phones to bed and meals and washrooms
  • remove social media from the phone, keep it only for PC 

Smartphone addiction can become problematic if not treated properly. This seems to be one of the most common among youngsters nowadays.  Get help for children facing such issues now, for a better future tomorrow.