There are many teenagers who immerse their faces in mobile phones or tablets every day and spend hours and hours in front of the screens . Adolescents have to spend time studying, doing activities that help them develop and that, in today’s society is also linked to the use of digital devices. This is indisputable. But it is one thing that they must learn to use these devices correctly and another thing is that they spend too much time in front of the screens and neglect other areas of their life or their development.
CONSEQUENCES OF SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME IN FRONT OF THE SCREEN IN ADOLESCENTS
The level of happiness of adolescents has begun to drop significantly since 2012, just when screen time has begun to increase, whether on the computer, on mobile phones, spending time in front of video games, etc. Teens spend too much time texting or chatting, rather than spending their time on social (face-to-face) activities.
There is a study that found that spending 6 hours or more on screens (smartphones, tablets, desktop computers or television) increased the risk of suicide in adolescents. Adolescents spend more and more time in the digital world, which causes them social isolation, they sleep worse, have a bad mood, increase family conflicts, have a lower academic performance, and last but not least, worrying; they increase aggressive and irresponsible behavior.
Sometimes when teens are asked how many friends they have, they may say, “Ten.” When we ask them how they spend time with them, we find out what it is: when playing video games, texting or chatting through mobile devices. Your contacts may live in your community, but they are often outside the country. C ny attempt to parents to limit the use of these devices often results in some physical and verbal exchanges times. Parents tell us that teenagers in the past also locked themselves in their rooms and avoided spending time with the family.
TWO HOURS IN FRONT OF THE SCREEN A DAY, MAXIMUM
Data from the longitudinal study found that teens who spent less than an hour a day on screen time were the happiest. Teens with lesser amounts of time participated in sports, social activities, reading, and hobbies, as well as time with their family.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested two hours a day as a reasonable amount of screen time, but it also emphasizes that a balance of activity is important, including social interaction, exercise, and getting enough sleep. No matter how much time children spend on screens, they should stop at least half an hour before going to bed to improve sleep.
STRIKE A BALANCE
You need to find a balance in how time is spent at home and in the family. Have electronic device-free family meals by all family members and involve everyone in the conversation. Family activities such as family game or movie night and occasional family outings on the weekends are helpful in bringing the family together. Encouraging your teen to get involved in an extracurricular hobby or activity, club, or youth group are also great alternatives.
If your teenager spends too much time on electronic devices to the point where it is causing social isolation, grumpiness, inability to slow down, and poor sleep, he may have become digitally addicted. If you have concerns, you will need to speak with your child’s doctor or see a mental health professional. Teenagers also need your guidance to learn how to have a healthier life without becoming addicted to technology.