There are times when I get home from work and my kids barely look up when the door opens. I’m sure they love me, but apparently I have to compete for attention with the likes of Pokemon Go and Candy Crush. Many people, especially younger people, are addicted to their digital devices. Unfortunately, the majority of addicts are children and teens who wish nothing more than to stare day in and day out at their glowing screens.
According to eMarketer, studies from CivicScience and Adestra by Flagship Research are proving the social media obsession in young people’s lives. More than three quarters of 13-24 year-olds surveyed in the CivicScience study admitted to being addicted to their digital devices. In comparison, “…self-declared device addiction among this age group was more than double that of users ages 55 and older,” reports eMarketer.
eMarketer also reported that 20% of millennials check their smartphones at least 10 times per hour, and a quarter of them said they did so at least once every 15 minutes.
This digital addiction is being fueled in large part by smartphone apps – as these apps now account for 50-percent of the time Americans spend online, according to an article from DigitalTrends. DigitalTrends reported that “While the smartphone app has been the most important access vehicle to the internet for some time — growing its share to a point where it now eclipses all other digital media platforms combined, speaks to just how central to our lives the smartphone has become.”
eMarketer predicts that younger kids using smartphone will account for the growing space in smartphone ownership, as “Ownership of smartphones among teens has surged in recent years.” eMarketer also estimates that 84.0% of 12- to 17-year-olds will own and use a smartphone on a monthly basis this year.
Are digital devices becoming a drug? Many experts are citing hat digital devices are becoming just that for many youngsters who could spend all day on the iPad if they were allowed. Marketwatch wrote about digital addiction in younger children, pointing out that kids in primary grades are taking to iPads and Xbox in droves.
According to the Marketwatch article, “Recent brain imaging research is showing that (digital devices) affect the brain’s frontal cortex—which controls executive functioning, including impulse control—in exactly the same way that cocaine does.” Marketwatch even went as far as to say that “Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels—the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic—as much as sex.”