Good Cell Phones For Teenagers – Many teenagers spend a lot of time on their phones and screens. So what’s going on in their brains while they’re doing this? Do they hurt?
I asked a group of teenagers questions about phones and how these devices affect them. They all attend Alameda International Junior/Senior High, a public school in the predominantly Latino Lakewood neighborhood; we use names only to protect their privacy.
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So I asked Dr. Joel Stoddard, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, to come and answer them.
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Here’s what teens wanted to know and the answers. “What do you think are the triggers in the brain that cause a teenager to be on their phone all the time?” Lewis, 9th grade.
Lewis, a ninth-grader at Alameda International Junior/Senior High School, talks with John Daly and Children’s Hospital Colorado psychiatrist Joel Stoddard about phone use. October 2, 2019
The teenage brain is very interesting, Stoddard said. They have sensory reward centers, including a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. Social media is shining a light on them. “When you get a like, the reward centers are very active,” Stoddard said. He pointed to research showing that “these reward centers develop much earlier” than those that might help a teenager, say, curb his desire to please or set and achieve goals.
“There’s a big difference between our reward centers, which follow what we want, and our control centers in adolescence,” he said. “And so it seems that teenagers, it seems, I say, teenagers are more vulnerable than other people.”
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In teenagers and adults, the problem arises because the brain does not differentiate between social networks and the physical world. There is no separate brain system for social media. “So we react to social media, and what we like, we react to everything else in the real world,” Stoddard said.
The students said that was correct and nodded. Brooklyn, a bespectacled, brown-haired eighth-grader, said that’s exactly what she experienced after posting on Instagram. “It makes you nervous,” he said. “When you’re on Instagram, some people get sad because they see people who have a lot of likes, unlike them. Jenasi, an older woman in a light sweater, had a similar experience. better mood,” she said.
Children’s Hospital Colorado psychiatrist Joel Stodard talks with teenagers about their phone use at Alameda International Junior/Senior High School. October 2, 2019
Teens’ desire for social interaction can also increase phone stress, Stoddard said. They are specifically tuned to the reactions of their peers, so for teenagers, likes on Instagram are perceived as a sign of belonging. But the opposite is also true: they are especially sensitive to rejection and exclusion. “It’s like a punishment when you wait for someone and hope that someone likes what you post and you don’t get that reaction,” she said.
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Stoddard says even the thought of going public can make some people anxious. “It’s not just about likes, it’s a kind of prediction of what other people will think of you on social media.”
According to Stoddard, this is especially true for those who experience social anxiety or fear of being judged in a social situation. People who are exposed to such anxiety in the real world are “more likely to react strongly to concerns about what others think of their online posts.”
Brooklyn said she saw him among her friends. “I know my boyfriend is afraid to post certain things because he’s afraid of what other people will think of him and what other people will think of him,” she said.
“How does (phone use) really affect the brain?” When people explain it, they basically say that it is very dangerous,” Jovan, 8th grade student.
Ai Generative Teens In Circle Holding Smart Mobile Phones Multicultural Young People Using Cellphones Outside Teenagers Addicted To New Technology Concept 27278426 Stock Photo At Vecteezy
Jovan, an eighth-grader at Alameda International Junior/Senior High School, talks with John Daly and Children’s Hospital Colorado psychiatrist Joel Stoddard about phone use. October 2, 2019
Stoddard acknowledged that it is difficult to assess the long-term effects. “We’re doing a big social experiment right now with guinea pigs,” he said. However, everything that teenagers have access to through their phones and social media can put them in a very difficult position. Stoddard explained this with an analogy. He showed the students a picture: on the left is a match, and on the right is a gas cylinder. “It’s the match itself, is it harmful?” – asked. David, an eighth grader, responded, “Maybe.
Stoddard told them that matches or a tin can alone would not cause problems. “But if you light a match and put it next to a gas can, something bad can happen, right?” – He said.
It’s the same with young people and phones, he explained. For some teens, using a phone can cause problems, and in different ways for different people. For some, this means unhealthy relationships with apps or people online, or a complete immersion in virtual life. Jovan, a curly-haired eighth-grader in a white T-shirt, said this happened to him. He plays video games late into the night, especially Fortnite. “I would be there on the weekends, like every day,” he said. During the week: “I want to go home, go straight to my room, and then play until 10.
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Jenassi, an Alameda International Junior/Senior High School graduate, talks with John Daly and Children’s Hospital Colorado psychiatrist Joel Stoddard about phone use. October 2, 2019
The elder Jenasi said she is on social media any time except when she is working. “The conversations I have with people are social things that I see on social media,” Jenassi said. “For example, memes, jokes – it literally becomes your life.
A new study released this week by Common Sense Media on youth technology use found that the average child ages 8 to 12 in the United States spends 4 hours and 44 minutes a day on screens. For teenagers it is even longer: on average 7 hours 22 minutes. Both figures do not include screen time at school or doing homework.
The report also documents other trends. Even among the youngest teenagers, smartphone ownership has increased dramatically. The main activities were television and video games, and time spent watching videos, often on YouTube, has increased significantly since 2015.
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At present it is difficult to say what the long-term consequences of such use will be. Research into the long-term effects of phones is still being conducted. Frequent phone use is linked to higher rates of mental health problems, but researchers don’t agree that smartphones are actually the cause.
If you need help, call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Helpline. You can also call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak with a trained counselor or specialist. Consultants are available for communication in public places or online.
Julia Twenge, an author and professor of psychology at San Diego State, argues based on her research that smartphones are dangerous for teenagers. Twenge told NPR that today’s teens and young adults are the first generation of smartphones. Because they spend so much time on their phones and social media, they spend much less time on other activities, and this may be the reason they are struggling with rising rates of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
But skeptics of this argument say the available evidence does not support it. “There is little clear evidence that screen time reduces well-being in adolescents,” write researchers Amy Orben and Andy Przybylski in the journal Psychological Science. “Adolescent technology use explains only less than 1% of the variation in well-being,” Orben, a psychologist at the University of Oxford, told NPR. “He’s so small that he dwarfs a teenager who wears glasses to school, ‘rides a bike, or eats French fries.’
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Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2019, “How Much Is Too Much?” For their paper, the pair analyzed 2016-2017 U.S. Census Bureau data. They concluded that “the potential impact of digital screen use is likely to be smaller and more subtle” than expected.
Still others argue that certain consequences are likely, but avoid more radical conclusions. The impact of a “media-saturated world” on the current generation of teenagers is “unclear,” according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications by Dutch psychology professors Evelyn Crone and Ellie Konijn. Their analysis, which Stoddard finds compelling, is that the brain’s key nervous systems are “still underdeveloped” and changing. This can contribute to “sensitivity to online rejection, acceptance, peer influence, and emotionally charged interactions in media environments.”
“What do you think children should change about using cell phones?” Should they be more careful? Brooklyn, 8th grade.
Brooklyn, an eighth-grader at Alameda International Junior/Senior High School, talks with John Daly and Children’s Hospital Colorado psychiatrist Joel Stoddard about phone use. October 2, 2019
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It’s all about moderation, Stoddard said. “Everyone wants to work online.” It’s a skill you have to learn.”
Stoddard told students that phones and social media are likely here to stay, so it’s important to integrate the two to prevent problems and get help when teens realize they have problems. “Understand how to manage your emotions socially.”
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