Smartphone Addiction

By Brenda Marrufo

The Definition of Addiction

According to Dictionary.com, Addiction is defined as: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.


And if we want to define it in medical and more serious terms, according to asam.org (American Society of Addiction Medicine)---

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

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Why do WE become ADDICTED in the first place?

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Smartphones are a source of entertainment, they are an ultra-portable-do-everything-machine. What was once a phone for simply making calls, turned into a way to communicate without using spoken words but rather "written" words, in other words texting. Before we knew it we got web browser, apps, the ability to listen to music, watch television and movies, and read books. We can even shop on our phones, really the list of ways our smartphones entertain us is endless, this thing that about 25 years ago seemed as real as a unicorn.
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Why are KIDS Addicted?

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Basically...Social Media!

So what is really happening?

5 Crazy Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain Right Now

How to Avoid & Prevent

There is no one age fits all for when it is appropriate to get your kid a cell phone, that is why it is so important to know your child. All you can do is make the most educated guess, figure out if they are going to be able to handle it, think about whether your child has asked you for a smartphone because they want to be like their friends or if they have ever even bothered you with the topic.

If you are unsure of if and when to get your child a phone, here is some helpful advise from commonsensemedia.org:


Here are some questions to consider:

~Do your kids show a sense of responsibility, such as letting you know when they leave the house? Do they show up when they say they will?

~Do your kids tend to lose things, such as backpacks or homework folders? If so, expect they might lose an (expensive!) phone, too.

~Do your kids need to be in touch for safety reasons?

Would having easy access to friends benefit them for social reasons?

~Do you think they'll use cell phones responsibly -- for example, not texting during class or disturbing others with their phone conversations?

~Can they adhere to limits you set for minutes talked and apps downloaded?

~Will they use text, photo, and video functions responsibly and not to embarrass or harass others?



Other things to consider if you think it is time for your kiddos to have a smart phone is the use of a contract so that the rules are clear, but most importantly the consequences are clear if they fail to follow those rules. Also from commonsensemedia.org, here is a sample contract to get a better idea:

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© 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine.

©Common Sense Media Inc. 2016. All rights reserved.