Tomika Clark would watch her son, 15-year-old Jason, on that phone of his all day long. From morning, noon, and night, at home and at school — nothing seemed to peel Jason away from his smartphone. As a mother, Clark became genuinely concerned for his health and well-being. As he began to use his phone more, his grades have gone down and his behavior changed. Was Jason addicted to his phone?
Clark placed an app on Jason’s phone that timed his usage. Some days he would be on his phone for six hours, other days he would be on for 12. When she tried to take his phone away, she knew based upon his reaction that something was not right.
“When somebody freaks out because you’re taking something they have an emotional attachment to, it is an addiction,” Clark told ABC.
According to psychologist Ed Spector, she wasn’t wrong to become concerned. Spector studies those who have a compulsive use of technology — basically, people who are addicted to it. He believes our brains can react to the sensation of using a technology the exact same way it would in drug addicts.
“Their brains change in similar ways to real chemical addicts,” Spector said. “If you talk to the parents of my clients, they come in and they say, ‘My kid’s like a junkie.’ They feel like it’s an addiction.”
Caroline Knorr, a parenting expert, suggests parents find ways to limit technology usage before it gets out of hand. She recommends limiting screen time and multitasking. She also says it’s a good idea to ban phone usage in the bedroom at night.
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