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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teens and Cell Phone Addiction

Teens and Cell Phone Addiction

It may not come as a big surprise to everyone, but teenagers currently make up the majority of the world's cell phone users. And while their continued growth may not be surprising, some of the statistics might shock you. While roughly 71% of North American teens own a cell phone, about 96% of 16-17 year old students in Japan also own their own cell phones.

These numbers help back up what many marketers have believed for a long time: today's youth are among the largest consumers of new technology. Most teenagers would think nothing of lining up for hours in order to purchase the next big gaming console, media player or cell phone. Unlike their parents, price isn't always the biggest obstacle. Most teens are willing to fork out extra money to ensure that their phone has full keyboard functionality for text messaging, a built-in camera, gaming options, media playback, and Internet access.

With so much technology crammed into one single phone, teens have become less reliant on other devices. Because of this reliance, most teens feel the need to have their phones with them at all times. They believe that they is no reason that they should ever have to miss a call or a text message. This dependency has been directly linked to the number of automotive accidents that are related to cell phone use. Over 20% of all fatal car crashes involving American drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the direct result of cell phone use.

Can we simply place the blame on inexperience, or is there more to this problem then meets the eye? When someone becomes dependent on any one thing, it is often referred to as an addiction.

Can someone really be addicted to a cell phone, in the same way they may be addicted to alcohol or drugs? If you ask some parents, they believe their teenaged offspring could very well be addicted to their phones. Some have noticed changes in the child's behavior. They've seen their child become paranoid whenever they would miss a call or text message. They've Watched their sons and daughters show signs of depression and apprehensiveness when they are unable to locate their phone. Many teenagers encounter additional problems at their school, at their work, or at home because of their cell phone usage. Not everybody is ready to refer to this problem as a "disease", just yet. However, the number of clinics who are willing to treating this problem as they would alcoholism or drug addiction has increased.

However, since there is no equivalent of AA for cell phone addicts, what can parents do to help their children who suffer from this problem?

The first thing that the teenager needs is structure and guidelines. Set times for when the cell phone must be turned off. Keep track of their usage. Make sure they are not misusing their phone privileges. And if the problem gets out of hand, take them off of your current plan. You can switch them to a prepaid cell plan, which will help curb their usage.

Another helpful tip is to look for activities that will help minimize use of their phone. Purchase tickets to a concert or a sporting event . Take the family out for a night at the movies. Go out for dinner with some friends, or just spend time hanging out with family and friends. The idea is to keep them busy and not thinking about their phone. If they are enjoying themselves, they might not notice that they missed a call.

Keep in mind, trying to curb their usage may not always solve the problem. If all else fails, don't be afraid to seek professional help. Contact a therapist or a treatMent centre about your teen's addiction. Not every teen has the exact same issues, and therapy can help get the source of the problem.

In the end, the teen needs to find a happy and healthy balance in order to get over their dependency.

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