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Teen Tech Stress Crisis in America

by Dr. Kathleen Hall

A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry shows technology is short-circuiting your teen’s life. This new JAMA study tells us that teens, who spend more than three hours a day on social media, are more likely to develop mental health problems including depression, anxiety, aggression, and antisocial behavior.

Psychological and Biological Problems With Teens on Social Media

Low self-esteem

Research shows the link between social media, technology, and self-esteem. Teens get isolated and don’t develop social skills. They also constantly compare themselves to other teens online with exaggerated expectations which damages their self-esteem. Bullying is also a massive problem affecting a teen’s self-esteem.

High-stress levels

Teens on social media experience greater stress levels which produce more stress hormones. This chronic stress changes the brain chemistry and creates mood changes, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Our teens on social media get less physical activity which affects their stress levels.

Sleep deprivation

Technology and tech addiction in teens cause sleep problems. When teens have less sleep, they experience memory problems, lethargy, low productivity, and mental health issues.

 Some Solutions to Our Teen Tech  Stress Crisis

  1. Technology talk

Just like the old “birds and bees talks,” and the old “don’t talk to stranger” talks, you must have a technology family talk. Show them what research shows about the effects of social media and technology on their brains and mental health. Teens are smart and need education and a good understanding of their health risks.

  1. Family meetings

Regular weekly family meetings are a must. Your children need support, and you need to listen. Conduct your family meetings with all phones in a basket. See our link to our Mindful Family Meetings for how to have a productive fun family weekly meeting.

  1. Family technology time-sheet

Keep a family time-sheet in your kitchen. Each family member signs in under each device they use, such as cell phone, iPad, and computer time. A time-sheet allows teens and parents a physical monitor of the time you and your teens spend on technology a day. This document will give you and your teens a precise, realistic valuation of the amount of time spent on technology and social media. Everyone will be surprised.

Technology becomes so hypnotic that teens lose their perspective of time. Most people grossly underestimate the time they spend on technology.

  1. Leisure

Leisure and relaxation are essential for your teens mental and physical health. Scheduling time for rest and play, (not online games), restores their stressed-out minds and bodies. When you show the value of leisure in your home, your teens will mirror that reverence for reflective time. We tend to value time in America when we are busy, “doing something.” Resting, recharging, and renewing is the key to a happy, meaningful, and healthy life.

  1. Stop multitasking

Your teen’s phone and computer can go all the time, but they can’t! We have countless studies on multitasking. Multitasking hurts our brain, memory, makes us less productive.

  1. Isolation Splinters the Family

The modern family lives in isolation at home. Family members return home from their busy day in the following scenario. Mom begins dinner as she talks on the cell phone, the teens are playing games or are on social media, and dad walks in the door and immediately checks his phone or computer. There is an increasing loss of intimate communication in our families. Each family member lives in their private cocoon, especially the teens as they retreat to their bedrooms. Parents you are the C.E.O’s, spiritual directors, and protectors of your teens. Please save your teen’s life and your family’s happiness, health, and life long connection.


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