The explosion in smartphone use since 2012 has coincided with increased rates of depression in adolescents. Reduced sleep might be one reason. Teenagers in the United States routinely rack up 6 hours a day on social media, which includes texting and other online activities. “For teens in particular, it’s catnip,” said, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of “ ” (Atria Books, 2017).
A smartphone is no substitute for face-to-face interactions, and offers little training in verbal communication and problem solving. A consequence of a smartphone-connected youth, according to Dr. Twenge, could be worsened mental health.
But there is some good news. Some teens are working to curb their smartphone use. Stopping the use of a smartphone as a relief for boredom, setting self-imposed time limits of phone use, and not succumbing to the wired world’s tendency to ratchet up anxiety are helpful strategies that can make smartphone use more productive.