A Behavioral Disorder is characterized not necessarily by the action itself, but by the manner in which the action disrupts the teens’ lives and/or becomes harmful in some way, either to the teens or to others. Therefore, while cell phones have become an integral part of everyday functioning for many people, some teens develop unhealthy, addictive behaviors with their cell phones, which cause corresponding negative effects in their lives.
It’s not uncommon for teens to be unaware of the effects of their cell phone addiction, because the habits of use become so ingrained and mechanical in nature. Some common examples of this kind of addiction include teens compulsively and/or constantly watching videos, checking social media, texting, and/or playing games. Addicted teens might continue to check their phones or be on their phones consistently, even during meals, conversations, during classes, and even sometimes while sleeping. Often, teens will compulsively pull their phones out, even despite no logical reason to check them; for instance, they’ve gotten no messages and just checked feeds, but will do so again moments later, regardless. This kind of habit can form when the physical act of checking their phones becomes an addiction in and of itself.
In instances of social media cell phone addiction specifically, teens can become fixated on continuing to check their own feeds as well as others, and can begin to be powerfully affected by the approval or disapproval that they receive online. This kind of reliance upon social media for validation can become considerably harmful to teens’ sense of self, their ability to reflect inward, and their process of identity development. Moreover, it can also make teens vulnerable to negative online abusive interactions and/or relationships, such as cyber bullying.
Understandably, these compulsive behaviors can become disruptive to numerous different areas of teens’ lives, including their academic responsibilities, their relationships, and even their sleep. Moreover, over time these kind of repetitive behaviors can be harmful to teens’ attention span, and can also create and/or exacerbate teens’ anxiety, as well. Overall, when teens are addicted to checking their phones so often, they’re unable to practice being present, which makes it difficult to connect well with others, and also difficult to be aware of themselves. Both of these things contributes to overall increased stress and decreased quality of life.
Paradigm Treatment Center Teen Cell Phone Addiction Treatment:
In providing Teen Cell Phone Addiction Treatment, one of the first steps is to create clear boundaries in reducing teens’ time with their cell phones. While at first, this separation is often met with anxiety and annoyance from teens, we find that in very little time, teens actually end up experiencing a sense of relief from that separation. We also work with teens to come up with new, healthier cell phone behavior boundaries, which will help them to be successful in not returning to their compulsive habits.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Teen Cell Phone Addiction Treatment is to help teens to evaluate the underlying mental and emotional stressors or causes that may be resulting in these excessive cell phone behaviors. In individual and group therapy sessions, we work with teens to help them recognize what kinds of thoughts and “triggers” are associated with their cell phone use. This strategy, of helping teens to become more aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, is central to all teen treatment plans, the end goal being for us to promote and nurture healing and growth in their lives, on all levels.