Today, teens spend almost 45 hours on their phones each week. That’s actually more than the average full time job. That’s 2340 hours a year just staring at a tiny device. That can’t be good for you right?
3 in 10 adults say they use their devices “constantly” – but it’s actually these “gen-z” kids (those born after 1996) who suffer the real consequences of a technology addiction, or an iDisorder. What exactly is this? It’s a condition where the brain’s natural ability to process and digest information deteriorates because of overexposure to technology.
This overexposure not only changes the way you take in information, but also results in a variety of different psychological, physical and sociological disorders, such as loneliness, anxiety, oxidative stress, sleep deprivation, repetitive motion disorder and more. But why? All these devices radiate Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that can contribute to your sleep quality/quantity, and change your biological systems. The amount of blue light you’re exposed to affects your vision and can cause defects down the road. And finally, you’re prone to feel more depressed and anxious because of your lack of connectivity with the “real” world.
Many argue that for gen-z kids, it’s not a phone addiction, but a “way of life”. After all, this is all they’ve ever known. And that’s true – many adults who have only used a device for half their life didn’t grow up owning one. But despite that, there’s a host of data depicting a stark picture we can’t ignore. 68.6% of participants in a survey reported that screen time had a negative effect on their mental health. 1 in 3 reported that it had a detrimental effect in their personal or work life. 52% of respondents reported they used social media on their phones out of “pure boredom”. When our use of technology is no longer intentional, it becomes a vicious cycle – one that’s hard to break out of.
So what should you do if you or your kids are addicted? Firstly, it’s totally okay. You’re not alone – but coming to terms with the addiction is the first step. Denial won’t make it go away and you’ll end up stuck in the cycle. The second step would be to learn to become more intentional with the way you use your technology. This could be through having a little journal or being more aware to better monitor you or your kids’ usage. Lastly, setting guidelines is vital so you are able to limit your usage eventually. Breaking the cycle may be hard as expected but it’s not impossible, so there’s no better time to make a change than now!