Being a teen is stressful. Being a teen is even more stressful

Being a teen is stressful. Being a teen is even more stressful

Young girl

For the first time, the generation of young adults is running through minefield of adolescence completely engrossed in their smartphones.
Almost a decade ago, the biggest worry for parents of teenagers was alcohol, drugs and sex. However, the statistics for these problems have nearly halved, and the over-use of tech gadgets and social media addiction is potentially even more worrying. Teens not only do face normal pressures like studying for school and competitive exams but they’ve additional pressure of staying connected with friends and peers 24/7 through social media. And as a result teen mental health has deteriorated drastically.
In India, mental health is still a taboo and any related conversations happen behind closed doors. No matter how hard we may try to ignore this, but mental health is REAL and so are its consequences.  In addition, another common notion in the Indian society is that good mental health is restricted to a specific age, profession, gender or background. Many say “You’re too young to be depressed.” However, that’s not the case. The sad reality is, mental illness can pull in most unexpectedly and can happen to anyone. There’s no definite set of underlying causes which can be used to justify mental illness. And it has an adverse impact on an individual’s psychological and physiological health.

Whether we love it or hate it, smartphone technology is taking over our daily existence but, no matter how up to date we are on our apps, we’re not necessarily happy. Parents are fussing over their children spending hours of their mobile phones. Recently, a man in Palghar district of Maharashtra set ablaze his 16 year old daughter because she was ‘addicted to mobile phone’.

While phone and social media obsession may not be as grave as some other addictions, they can still be severe. Teens with a phone/social addiction commonly experience anxiety, depression, lack of impulse control, loneliness etc. Since adolescents are still developing cognitively, these symptoms may be more extreme and conspicuous than they are in adults. Also, it should be noted that some teens would experience mental health problems no matter what era they lived in, with or without smartphones and the trappings of social media.

Yet, studies show that some vulnerable teens who would normally not have faced mental health issues may have experienced depression or anxiety due to too much screen time, a lack of face-to-face social interaction, or inadequate sleep.

One should carefully look for a few obvious signs that may indicate the addiction:
1. Texting while driving, or crossing the road or during studies or such similar potentially dangerous situations
2. Rise in Family conflicts or withdrawal from social/ family get together pertaining to Smartphone use
3. Unable to perform effectively in school, with family demands or unable to handle the emotions
4. Constant checking of phone which might become very frequent so much so that it might take place every minute and failure to do so might make the child impulsive
5. Frequent checking of phone leading to Insomnia or sleep disturbances
6. Need to respond immediately to messages and alerts
7. When the phone is not accessible there is an increase in anxiety

When in doubt just ask a few questions to yourself to find out whether your teen is actually smartphone addicted or not
1. Whenever the phone is taken away or whenever my child is unable to use the phone, does he/she becomes anxious, angry, irritable or even violent?
2. Is my teen sometimes so engorged in the Smartphone use that he/she avoids or skips the social events or extracurricular activities?
3. My teen is not having a normal sleep routine, is it due to the interference of his/her Smartphone?
4. Is there any major changes in the eating habits of my teen that cannot be clarified otherwise?
5. Are there any major mood changes in my teen that can’t be explained otherwise?

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