Welcome to part 2 of our discussion on Smartphone Anxiety and Depression. If you missed part 1 or if you forgot some info, please go back and re-read the blog due to this being a series of blogs that build on each other. But to briefly recap part 1, we talked about how smartphones are not the “devil,” but how and why we use them is where problems can come in. We mentioned some stats on how smartphones seem to have some relation to the cause of anxiety, depression, loneliness and tiredness in kids/teens that have these devices. We also discussed how smartphones provide connections, escapes, attention to self, a platform for you to have a voice, a better self-image, etc. But why do these devices seem to lead to negative behaviors in tweens and teens? What are smartphones producing in our kids?
As alluded to earlier, the phone is not the problem, but it is A solution to a deeper need…and that’s the problem. In other words, kids are longing for something, and the smartphone/social media is meeting that longing.
So this begs the question: What are our kids’ longing for?
Answer: They are longing and looking for an answer to the question “Who am I?”
Simply put, our kids are looking for acceptance, approval, security, and significance…and if not careful they are willing to find these things in their smartphones/social media. Tweens and teens can get caught up in finding their identity and self-worth in what other people say and do to them on social media; how many people liked, followed, commented on, or viewed my post? They are also willing to create a false identity, manipulating their image so others will accept them. What happens if the above didn’t go as planned? They will feel down, depressed, anxious, and lonely. This is where smartphones can become the most dangerous! Teens can find their worth in what happens on their smartphone and social media. They can find a false identity in their achievements, approval of others, and appearance. But this doesn’t have to be the case!
So how can you help your kid not fall into this identity trap? How can you, as a parent, teach and lead your kid into making smart decisions on their smartphone and social media? We will be answering these questions next time in part 3, where we will be offering helpful tips and solutions to these issues.