ST. LOUIS, Missouri. According to CNN, smartphone addiction is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Not only can an addiction to your smartphone affect your ability to safely complete certain life tasks (distracted driving injuries due to smartphone use are estimated to leave 391,000 people injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), but smartphone addiction can actually also change your brain in significant ways. This is bad enough for adults who use smartphones, but for children who are exposed to these devices at a young age, the impact can be life-long. Some individuals face severe anxiety when they cannot access information on their smartphones.
When scientists in Korea studied the brains of teenagers who were diagnosed with smartphone addiction, they found that the teen’s brains had changed in significant ways. The teens who were addicted had higher GABA levels. Higher GABA in the brain is associated with problems concentrating. These individuals had become neurologically more vulnerable to distractibility. When it comes to putting an end to texting and driving and texting and walking, phone addiction isn’t likely to make curbing these practices any easier.
Early research indicates that smartphone addiction or reliance could impact a person’s ability to be attentive. This could have a serious impact on children who are exposed to the technology at a young age, when their brains are still developing.
According to QZ, the average teenager receives a smartphone at age 10. The average time teens spend on their phones is 4.5 hours. Apple and other stakeholders are looking into controls that parents can use to monitor their children’s usage. Studies have already shown that smartphones and screen time can impact children’s health negatively. Research has shown that children’s ability to focus on schoolwork has decreased. Teens who spend more than 5 hours on their devices are also 71% more at risk of suicide above those who spend only one hour on their devices.
So, what can you do to protect your children and yourself from the potentially harmful effects of smartphone addiction? For one, limit the amount of time your children spend in front of any screen each day. This may mean limiting Facebook or social media use to a home computer where time can be better monitored. Adults and children alike can agree to have phone-free zones and times. Dinnertime, playtime, bedtime, and driving times should be phone-free zones. In fact, bringing your phone to bed can impact your ability to sleep, leading to fatigue, which can also affect your driving and ability to perform everyday tasks.
Holding drivers accountable when their actions behind the wheel result in another person’s injury or death is also important. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a distracted driver or a driver who was texting and driving, you may be entitled to seek damages from the negligent party. Consider speaking to the St. Louis, Missouri personal injury attorneys at Kruse Law today. Changing attitudes about texting and driving will take time. But, as more families raise awareness and fight back, we can see a future where texting and driving is just as socially stigmatized as drinking and driving. Visit us at https://www.stlouisattorney.com/ to learn more today.