How Device Management can Improve Your Teen’s Mental Health

 In Mental Health, Parenting

If one thing is clear about our present society, it is that technology is all around us and it is here to stay. One-on-one conversations have become a rarity throughout all generations, and this is especially true for those who grew up with it, but device management can help.

These days, teens seem to have become dependent on technology, and it’s not always for their benefit. It seems that if a teenager is not staring down at a smartphone, then it is a tablet or a laptop. It is not an altogether surprising image to see two teenagers seated next to each other on a bus deeply engrossed on their mobile phones rather than talking to one another.

There are instances when technology is useful and beneficial, but a severe overreliance on technology can be socially devastating and have long-term effects. So-called “dependence” is defined as frequent and obsessive technology-related behavior can lead to consequences like irritability when away from technology, feelings of isolation, extreme anxiety and depression.  Today, there are lobbyists vying to include technology addiction into the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Why technology is addictive

Technology is addictive because it fulfills the natural human need for stimulation and interaction. For example, a teenager who experiences a breakup or gets bad grades in an exam may find it easy to cope with their experience of loss or failure by distracting themselves with screen time. They will likely feel better about their situation and will return to their ‘fix’ when experiencing other uncomfortable emotions. As a result, technology becomes addictive.

It is well-known that addiction to substances is considered a disease, as it creates an impact on the pleasure systems of the brain. Similarly, technology influences these pleasure systems. It provides the same reward as alcohol and the other drugs thus it can be boredom buster, social lubricant and escape from reality. The ease of access to technology in our digital age is impressive, but it can be a detriment when someone may be seeking to avoid the screen. These days, the latest technological advances are available in numerous formats: video and computer games, smartphones, tablets, social media, and the internet.

The risk of technology use among teenagers

Technology is not entirely bad, but its overuse can have negative effects on teenagers. Some important considerations:

  • It can give them a false sense of relational security due to communicating with unseen individuals around the world.
  • It encourages an unhealthy desire for instant gratification because of the speed with which it moves. For example, when there is a slow internet connection, a teen who is used to constant connection will become irritable and anxious.
  • Teens often develop sleep disorders due to a lack of regulation. As a result, their performance in academic and family life will be negatively impacted.
  • Technology encourages a sedentary lifestyle which leads to weight gain and other complications of a poor diet.
  • Technology addiction also leads to a deterioration of in-person social skills which may lead to difficulties in life transitions like dating, college and other aspects of life.

How to prevent technology addiction

There is a need to help teenagers avoid misusing technology as an escape from real-world challenges or emotions. Help can be in the form of:

  • Providing plenty of healthy and positive experiences offline
  • Balancing activity and productivity
  • Nurturing pro-social identity development in the real world by providing opportunities for them to explore alternate forms of creativity
  • Considering a treatment program that involves removing a teenager from surroundings that contribute to technology addiction.

Technology without a shadow of doubt can be an excellent tool to fulfill human needs for stimulation and connection, but overdependence continually shows adverse effects on the developing brain. Learning how to manage technology is an important life skill in the 21st century, and it’s one that cannot be taken for granted considering the role that it plays in our society today. From school to work and learning vital communication skills, we at Launch Centers are here to partner with you to take back your life and launch you into your next steps today!

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