One of the most popular technology devices in the 21st century is a cell phone. Over the years, an increasing portion of the global population has acquired this device and today, a cell phone is a close companionship for many people. The invention of smart phones has further accelerated this popularity. Equipped with diverse and relevant features, smartphones have proved usable for many functions beyond communication. This has, in turn, meant that an even higher number of people find it useful to own the device. By 2014, a research conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that approximately 9 out of every 10 Americans own a mobile phone of which about 2/3 owns a smartphone. However, this high popularity has come with it the problem of cell phone over use, in which individuals spend too much time on their phones at the expense of other important activities. One of the age groups that have been severely affected by this problem is teenagers. This essay will explore the negative consequences of cell phone addiction and narrow down to how the problem has affected teenagers. As will be seen herein, cell phones’ overuse and addiction is an issue that requires urgent attention by all those who are involved.
Negative Consequences of Cell Phones Addiction
The rise in ownership and applicability of cell phones on their user’s lives has meant an equally increased dependence on them. Many people use their cell phones for one or more purposes every day and they cannot imagine going for a day without this important device. However, the issue of cell phone overuse and addiction has become a reality in the contemporary society. There are many people who can almost not “survive” without their cell phones as they have with time become over-dependent on them. Notably, addiction often emanates from a desire to continually use more of something that makes an individual at ease, happy or even socially accepted. It is rooted in pleasure and convenience. This being the case, the use of cell phones has become a culprit for addiction in many people’s lives. This is especially the case for smartphones that have proved to be very applicable to the lives of many. Unfortunately, cell phone addiction produces undesirable consequences for those affected and even those around them. One of the root uses of the problems associated with cell phone addiction is what many people refer to as “multi-tasking”. This is where an individual uses a cell phone and at the same time, attends to some other function. The habit has proved fatal when the “other function” is driving. The use of mobile phones when driving has been found to be responsible for many road accidents. Distracted driving, for which the use of cell phones is one of the major causes, results in the death of about 8 people each day in the US during which another 1, 161 are injured. Apart from this deadly impact, cell phone addiction has been linked with a host of other physical and psychological issues. With regard to mental health, the addiction has been associated with obsessive compulsive disorder, depressive disorder, as well as interpersonal sensitivity. Additionally, far from these clinical impacts, many people experiencing cell phone addiction go through a lot of agony whenever they are unable to access the much-valued device.
How Cell Phones Addiction Affects Teenagers
Teenagers constitute one of the age groups that are most affected by the problem of cell phone addiction. This could be the case because a good proportion of the features fitted in smartphones are relevant and highly valued by the group. For instance, smartphones allow for access to social media in which most teenagers are very active. In other cases, the group is highly attracted to entertainment features that are also contained in most cell phones. However, the resulting addiction to the devices has translated into undesirable consequences. To start with, studies have established that cell phone addiction is linked with poor sleep quality amongst adolescents. At this age, sleep needs amount to between 8 and 10 hours every night. On the contrary, many adolescent Americans have been revealed to sleep between 7.5 and 8.5 hours per night with a good proportion sleeping for as few as 6.5 hours during school nights. Overuse of cell phones has been blamed for this outcome more so because smartphones have become increasingly accessible to teens and since most of the individuals use the devices within few hours before falling asleep. In addition, the habit also interferes with the quality of sleep. Sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality, in turn, translates to negative physical and mental health issues, as well as social problems amongst teenagers. Depression and increased presentation of illness have particularly been reported amongst teenagers who experience poor sleep quality and quantity. In addition to these, cell phone addiction amongst teenagers has been found to negatively affect their social skills. To start with, the individuals spend a lot of time on their cell phones, leaving very little time for meaningful physical social interactions. As a result, they fail to develop important social skills involved in such interactions. Secondly, especially due to the advent of the social media, many adolescents have “taken” their friendships online, but this comes at a cost in the form of poorly developed social skills. In 2012, one study reported that the average number of Facebook “friends” for an adolescent was 834. However, this number has been termed an illusion owing to the fact that only a few of the friends add any value to the teenager’s life. Even though some studies have reported that digital interactions also have some positive impact on an individual, a commonly observed trend is that many people depict traits of themselves that are far from the reality. This, in turn, interferes with the way individuals perceive themselves and others in society.
Physical Issues Associated with Cell Phone Addiction
Irrespective of the age group in question, cell phone addiction produces numerous physical health issues. To start with, the fact that those who are addicted to their cell phones spend a lot of time on them means that they reserve little time for more physically demanding activities. Physical activity is an important factor in determining the health of an individual. This, in turn, means that individuals suffering from cell phone addiction are more exposed to physical health issues. In addition to this, electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones is feared to be linked with several health issues. Specifically, cell phones emit a type of radiation referred to as EMF (electromagnetic field) and it comprises of magnetic and electric energy waves moving together. The electromagnetic spectrum comprises of both non-ionizing and ionizing radiation. The latter is capable of damaging the structure of cells in the human body including the DNA thereby resulting in serious health issues. With regard to the risk of cancer, research has established that it is increased by exposure to even low doses of ionizing radiation. One type of cancer that has been found to emanate from the exposure is leukemia and it is actually the most sensitive of all the cancers that are induced by radiation. Even though the overuse of cell phones has not precisely been linked with cancer, it is yet to be established what the long-term risks of the habit could be. If there turns out to be a relationship between the two, it will be a major issue of concern considering that many people are either addicted or are at risk of being addicted to their cell phones.
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What started as one of the most important technological advancements could translate into yet another problem in the society. Cell phones are invaluable items in the lives of many people and they have widened communication and other aspects of life. However, they have also proved to be addictive probably owing to the desirable features and opportunities that they offer. Cell phone addiction is fast becoming a reality in society and it is affecting people of all age groups. However, teenagers constitute one of the most affected groups. Most teenagers spend a lot of time on their phones per day, and this usually occurs at the expense of other activities. As a result, such issues as sleep deprivation have emerged, which have in turn translated into poor mental and physical health. Nonetheless, regardless of the age group under study, overuse and addiction to cell phones has a high potential of resulting into poor physical health. This is because the habit uses up time that would have otherwise been used on other physically demanding activities, except sleep, which is equally important. Considering that physical activity is a prerequisite to good health, it is expected that people who are addicted to their phones will most likely suffer from poor physical health and form. Putting into consideration all these consequences, people should take a lot of caution not to overuse their cell phones and fall victim to addiction.