Smartphone Addiction Causes Changes in the Teen Brain


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We all seem addicted to our smartphones and its little wonder. They were developed with certain aspects of the slot machine in mind. The average person checks their phone 150 times per day. A recent Deloitte survey finds that 82% of Americans own a smartphone. Of them, 92% use it while out shopping, 78% while eating at home (when they should be talking to their loved ones), and 44% while crossing the street.

Teens may be the most susceptible to smartphone addiction. 73% of US adolescents have a smartphone or can gain access to one. Of them, 96% go on the internet daily, a Pew Research Center poll found. Should parents limit exposure? Probably. One of the concerns is socialization. Being used to doing most of their social interactions online may cause teens to find it difficult to address issues and interact with others face-to-face.

On another and perhaps more concerning front, neuroscientists have wondered what all this exposure to smartphones is doing to our neurological health, especially in children and teens whose brains are still developing. Hyung Suk Seo, M.D., professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea and colleagues, used a novel approach to find out.

Teens with smartphones.

73% of US adolescents have a smartphone or can gain access to one. Of them, 96% go on the internet daily. Credit: Getty Images.

First, they recruited 19 young people being treated for smartphone or internet addiction. 9 were boys and 10 girls. They’re average age was 15.5. Next, the severity of their addiction was evaluated using standardized addiction tests. These included assessments of their productivity, feelings, social life, and daily routines.

Turns out, smartphone addicted teens had higher rates of anxiety, depression, impulse control problems, and sleep disorders. Then these participants were compared to…


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