Just like drugs, alcohol, and video games, the Internet and electronic screens promote addictive behavior and dependency. Those who already struggle from behavioral or mental health issues may feel like they have a stronger need for the Internet or screen time.
A New York Times article written by psychology professor Dr. Dennis-Tiwary states, “Teenagers who use smartphones more often or in certain ways are more likely than their fellows to subsequently develop mental illness.” Social media, video games, and even just the computer or television screen are producing higher risk of mental health for youth. Research conducted by Jean Twenge discovered that teens that spend five or more hours per day on their electronic devices are 71% more likely to have one risk factor for suicide. With a society so engaged in electronics, many people forget to think of the damaging affects of their smartphones or laptops.
Studies have also proven that there is even a link between AHDH and digital media. Teens who struggle with ADHD are much more addicted to their computer screens or social media and just by weaning them off these online habits, it can decrease their ADHD symptoms.
So what can you do instead of sitting in front of the screen?
There are many other ways for youth to enjoy themselves and take a break from electronics. Apple has created applications to lock a phone or computers and take away the temptation of having a working electronic right in front of you. The top 5 apps for reducing screen time are:
- Stay on Task (for Android)
Instead of sitting on your phone or computer, read a book (not on a kindle), listen to a podcast or a book on tape, play an old fashioned board game. Getting fresh air outdoors, going on a run, or taking a trip to the mall are other ways to avoid the screen for a few moments each day. Little ways to reduce screen time hopefully will reduce the risks of mental health.
Contact us today for help.