The Effect Phones have on Adolescents’ Social Skills

addictionThe social skills of newer generations are deteriorating due to excessive phone use. Today, phones are becoming increasingly prevalent in our day to day lives. In fact, according to Pew Research,  96% of Americans own some type of cellular phone while 81% own smartphones. The addictive qualities of phones such as their convenient size, functions, and their tendency to release dopamine after usage makes them a staple to many people’s lives. Dr. Greenfield, the director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, found that around 90% of Americans fall in the category of overusing, misusing or abusing their device.

Admittedly, phones do benefit people in many ways. For example, they allow us to easily communicate with others, form new relationships via social media, and provide us with a plethora of helpful apps. Despite all the benefits, the negative impact of phones on social skills is evident. Phones only provide temporary satisfaction immediately after usage and they can actually increase loneliness and depression. They also allow people to avoid social interactions. Many times, phones can be used as protection or as a “security blanket” to help temporarily tame anxiety, stress, or loneliness in social situations. This can be seen as helpful to users since they have potentially avoided social anxiety or an unwanted interaction. This, however, is counterproductive as humans are meant to be social creatures. Being social can improve one’s mental and even physical health.

To add, the overuse of phones impacts the quality of our social skills overtime. Analogous to trained habits, people lose their ability to have meaningful conversations if they are deprived of such conversations on a daily basis. In the long run, the nature of our interactions will change in a negative way. The impact on social skills is more evident in the younger generations. According to Pew Research, 99% of people aged 18-29 have a cell phone while 96% own a smartphone.

At the moment, there are not many solutions available to prevent this issue. The marketing of phones glorifies their benefits and hides their flaws. Making users realize that this issue exists is one of the biggest steps. Self awareness can help people consciously decide to change their habits. To add, parents have a huge influence on their children’s behavior. When children see their parents constantly using their phone, they will believe that it is normal or acceptable. If parents limit their phone usage, their children can follow their example. All of these solutions can help individuals seeking reduction in phone use. The only way to approach this problem as a whole is to fix it at the roots. Companies who produce cell phones continue to make them increasingly addictive for more profit. They were originally put out on the market to benefit people. Now however, the threshold between helpful and unhealthy has been surpassed. These companies ought to have a responsibility to amend their mistakes by making products that can help encourage minimum phone usage.

About The Author:

Saniya Shrotriya is an ambitious junior from Milpitas High School. She loves exploring new fields of science and learning about the world. Saniya is heavily involved in her school’s Science Olympiad team where she is able to pursue her interests in science.