Even though most of us have busy schedules, and balancing personal and professional life sometimes feels like juggling on a wire, we always find those few minutes to check on our friends’ Instagram stories and see what’s new on TikTok.
Why is this urge to grab our phones so strong? Is technology still serving us, or are we starting to become technological slaves like we regularly see in a dystopian future?
Probably a little bit of both.
Technology is now available to all age groups, and younger generations often don’t see the harmful effects technology overuse can have on their physical and mental wellbeing. Thus, we’re bringing you some of the most common negative effects technology has on teenager health.
HOW OVERUSING TECHNOLOGY CAN IMPACT TEENAGE LIFE
According to a study done by ExpressVPN, Gen Z is spending increasingly more time on social media, and many of them now aspire to become influencers. This kind of behavior can lead to risking their privacy and security as well as severe mental health issues resulting from mirroring unhealthy behaviors seen online.
1. Mental health issues
Young people feel pressure to keep up with unrealistic beauty standards, and ExpressVPN’s study showed that 83% of teenagers with a social media presence experience anxiety around posting, where a number of likes and followers have a direct negative impact on their self-esteem. Furthermore, 79% say online presence makes them feel depressed, and 86% say it affects their overall happiness.
Luckily, they’re starting to embrace new features and settings that can protect their privacy and allow them to reflect and take care of their mental health.
2. The decline in social interactions
We may feel connected to our loved ones because we share memes and cat videos with them, but these relationships could lack a deeper bond. Even though social media is designed with the idea of communion in mind, it often falls short of these expectations. A staggering 81% of Gen Z feel lonelier due to social media. Unfortunately, the recent pandemic has reduced the number of in-person interactions and has maybe caused an overreliance on social media for our daily interactions.
3. Negative impact on cognition and sleep
Technology overuse can significantly affect people’s concentration by shortening their attention span, and it can cause problems with regulating emotions. Also, technology is known for inducing sleep problems that can have deteriorating effects on teenagers’ health. At first, bright screen light could cause increased alertness before bedtime and delay the usual body clock. It could even lead to chronic fatigue and numerous related health conditions over time.
4. Neglect of physical activity
Throughout history, the focus of all technological developments has been making our lives easier and more comfortable. This noble goal soon leads to a sedentary lifestyle that most of us nowadays blame for our weaker muscles, higher blood pressure, and higher numbers on the scale. Children and young adults tend to be one of the most vulnerable age groups when it comes to obesity. For instance, in 2019 and 2020, the National Survey of Children’s Health showed that 16.2% of youth ages 10 to 17 were obese. Alongside poor diet, lack of physical activity is one of the most common contributing factors to this problem.
Even though there are numerous ways technology can contribute to a better quality of life, new studies show that there may be quite a few issues with the way teenagers use technology.
Our advice is to reflect on how you’re using technology and find the right balance that won’t sacrifice your mental and physical health. If you’re struggling with limiting your time online, don’t hesitate to seek help with organizing and managing your daily activities.