Guest Post: Digital World’s Teen Fads: Just a Click Away

A teenager had recently run up a cellphone bill of more than $20,000 in California. While the bill amount received a lot of attention, many might have missed the trend it points to. Technological, or more specifically gadget revolution has changed our lives significantly. While the benefits of gadgets are well documented and probably do not warrant a discussion in this piece, the relentless intrusion of gadgets in our lives has resulted in a number of problems — both health and psychological.

Probably no one else has felt the impact more than teenagers and their families. Educational institutions now report more cases of academic failures. Psychologists counsel more teenagers for depression than ever. Mobile service providers report more profits from teenaged subscribers than ever (mobile service providers would not complain though). And these are just a few topics of concern.

Some Disconcerting Information

  1. According to David Kahneman, a behavioral economist, parenting ranks 16th in the list of 19 most enjoyable activities in Texas.
  2. Car accidents related to cellphone usage increased by 43% in Western Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2006.
  3. Wayne State University in Detroit has revealed in a study that cell phone radiation can cause insomnia, depression and headache.
  4. According to an associate professor of occupational health sciences at the University of Washington, frequent texting may lead to a temporary or a permanent damage to the thumbs.

Impact on Teenagers

  • Teenagers have increasingly been depriving themselves of sleep at night. This has led to a drop in concentration and a rise in fatigue during daytime. According to a study conducted by Leuven School for Mass Communication Research at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, 35% of the people who felt tired attributed it to the use of cell phones.
  • Many educational institutions in the United States report a notable fall in academic performance of students. Students using cellphones in the class are more likely to suffer from loss of concentration.
  • Many teenagers have also been found to abuse the ever-expanding capabilities of cellphones. With the easy availability of internet on cellphones, for example, teenagers can easily access websites containing pornographic content.
  • 54% of the teenagers using cellphones have reported receiving unsolicited texts .

Impact on Parenting

Parenting has become more difficult with the gadget invasions. Most parents have a difficult time managing the plummeting academic performance of their children. Excessive use of cellphones have also contributed to stressful situations in families. Andrew Oswald, an economist states that while children do not make parents unhappy, they do not make parents happier either.

Tips to Handle Gadget Mania

Do not discourage teenagers on using gadgets. Instead, monitor their activities and lay down rules. For example, many anti-virus solutions provide parental control which enables the parents to determine the websites their children can visit. Many satellite television channel providers also enable parents to lock channels for their children which they deem unsuitable for viewing. Parents also need to understand that the world around the teenagers has changed significantly, compared to that even ten years ago. This is why they need to understand teenagers before starting to become critical of their attitudes and behaviors.

Generally, too much of anything is bad and that is why, gadget mania should not be given undue importance. While discussing the negative impact of gadgets, its benefits should not be ignored. It is about inculcating sound values and principles into the teenagers and making them aware of the drawbacks of the gadgets. There are a lot of right-thinking people who have been doing a lot to raise awareness on gadget mania and over time, the results will be seen. After all, we have just entered the information age.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++About the author: By profession, Amanda Kidd is a writer and blogger. She loves children and she frequently writes on topics associated with toddlers and the parenting instructions to make things easy for both parents and kids.


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