Parents Voice in Government School Education

Smartphones and mental health

A recent article in the Conversation looks at the link between smartphones and mental health issues in teenagers. The article focuses on a new book by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt titled The Anxious Generation. 

According to the article:

Haidt argues that the evidence is in. Teenagers’ widespread use of smartphones is causing a mental health crisis. Individual, collective and legislative action is required to limit their smartphone access.

The article critically examines the claim of a “mental health epidemic” among teenagers, the difficulty of assigning a cause to mental health issues, and what can be done about the problem.

The article cites Haidt’s four “foundational concerns” about smartphones:

  • Social deprivation: a smartphone is an “experience blocker”, taking up hours a day that would otherwise be spent in physical play or in-person conversations with friends and family.
  • Sleep deprivation: too many teenagers stay on their smartphones late at night when they need rest.
  • Attention fragmentation: alerts and messages continually drag teenagers away from the present moment and tasks requiring concentration.
  • Addiction: apps and social media are deliberately designed to hack vulnerabilities in teenagers’ psychologies, leading to an inability to enjoy anything else.

This thoughtful and balanced article is well worth a read for parents!

Read the article

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