Technology is an integral part of nearly every teenager's life. From cell phones and video games to computers and television, the use of technology affects teens positively and negatively. Depending on the source of technology, teens can make the most of its effect on their lives through responsible use.
Many teens carry cell phones and find they have become dependent on them to stay connected to friends and the outside world. Keeping in touch with parents and friends is important, but it shouldn't consume the majority of a teen's time. According to author Ann Louise Gittleman, cell phone use, like alcohol and drugs, might act on the reward centers of the brain containing opiate receptors. When the brain gets its perceived reward, whether it's drugs, chocolate or the excitement of texting constantly, it wants to do it more frequently. Suddenly, a habit is formed. Disallowing your teen's cell phone in her bedroom is one way to curb her appetite for constant communication via cell phone.
Teens need computers for many academic assignments and research projects however, some teens find it difficult to stay on task with the temptation of surfing the web for anything from games to inappropriate websites. Many teens spend hours online, e-mailing, instant messaging, downloading music and updating social networking pages. All of this access can be dangerous, according to an article at PsychologyToday.com. Teens who abuse the Internet can lose sight of priorities such as academic performance and relationships. Monitor your teen's Internet activity by keeping the computer in an open area of the household such as a desk in the living room.
Video games can help teens unwind and release anxiety as long as gaming isn't excessive. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours per day of video games. A regular habit of more than two hours a day can lead to attention issues at school and poor academic performance. Violent video games can desensitize teens to the realities of war and crime. Game ratings for age-appropriate content should be taken seriously because teenagers are still developing cognitive brain-function, which includes the ability to reason and decipher morally sound behavior.
Many teens prefer to watch television or play on the computer to going outside for physical recreation activities. This can lead to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Too much media at home makes it too easy for teens to default to inactivity. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that parents establish "screen-free" zones at home by eliminating televisions, computers and video games in children's bedrooms, and by turning off the television at designated times or during dinner.
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