Your Teen Can Find Happiness in a Cot

A study published this week came as no surprise to any of us: Teen screen addicts are unhappy . Lead author is Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology, who wrote The Atlantic article “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” (In a nutshell, perhaps, but this is an encouraging sign that teens are beginning to link their mental health problems to their constantly working devices.) In their new study, Twenge and her team at San Diego State University found that the happiest teens used digital media for less than an hour a day. Instead, they spent their time doing other things – playing sports, reading newspapers (right?) And engaging in old-fashioned face-to-face interactions.

This entire crisis of children chained to their screens is not slowing down – two large Apple investors are urging the company to fight child phone addiction , believing that it is part of their responsibility. Obviously, parents cannot and should not rely on companies to do the hard work for them. And yes, it can be hard work, especially when many of us are struggling to curb our device obsessions.

One thing that gives me a (perhaps too rosy) sense of hope is the tales of teenagers ditching their smartphones for clamshells or other “dumb” phones – and gaining a strange sense of freedom. Today we ran an experiment in which they asked teenagers to exchange their smartphones for clamshells for a week, and at first one girl reported that she was “going crazy”, but then they started doing some very peculiar activities like reading books and talking. to their families.

In Seventeen magazine, 16-year-old Janey Litwin wrote about the joys of using a purple 2008 Motorola flip phone after her iPhone fell and broke. (Give the article to your child if she doubts she can avoid turning into a complete social outcast.)

Until that fateful day, although I would not admit it, I was completely addicted to my iPhone. He literally called me: notifications of incoming pictures, vibration of hundreds of group chat messages. Being away from my iPhone only made me work harder when we reunited because then I would have to answer EVERYTHING. And check Instagram and Facebook, you know, in case I missed something. It was like homework – I had to keep up with it, otherwise I would have fallen behind. From time to time I relaxed a little and the number of unread messages continued to grow, and that little red number on the messaging app icon got bigger and bigger, I felt more and more stressed. But the broken iPhone changed everything. The pressure suddenly disappeared to answer or stay on top of everyone’s latest actions, and it was … nice.

The New York Times just ran the article “Is Your Child a Phone Addict?” In it, Ana Homayun, author of Social Media Health : How To Help Teens and Adolescents Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World , encourages parents to give their kids clamshell phones and then “wait until they develop good general habits before giving them smartphone. “

“Just as kids learn to ride bicycles with learning wheels or get junior licenses when they learn to drive, kids shouldn’t be expected to drive their first smartphones by themselves,” Homayun writes.

This is not a panacea, and you have to admit that there are some things in the presence of an old school device that make teenagers want to bang their heads against it (to write the letter “C”, Lytvyn must go to number 1, and then press A and B – remember those days?). But it seems worth a try. Wait until the 8th , a project that pledges moms and dads to defer giving their kids smartphones until at least eighth grade has a Pinterest page full of those silly phones and phone clocks that let people get in touch with your kid and … that’s all.

Only one question remains: Motorola Razr or Nokia 3310?


Leave a Reply