How to reduce smartphone addiction in children and adolescents

Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has studied changes in the behavior of young adults in the United States for 25 years. His research, published in the most important psychology journals, is authoritative [1]. written by generation about me (2006) and An epidemic of narcissism (2009) are milestones. Millennials advance, millennial children, born between 1980 and 1994, who became adults at the beginning of the 20th century.e century. This generation in particular is characterized by increased individualism, excessive self-esteem and less respect for rules [2].

In 2017, J. Twenge published a very extensive study on the “Internet generation”:

iGenWhy Today’s Super-communicative Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, and Happier—And Totally Unprepared for Adulthood. The Book of Atria, 533 p.

Across., Internet generation. so. Mardaga, 2018, 464 p.

The members of the “Internet Generation”, which Twenge calls “iGen”, were born in 1995, the year the Internet was commercialized. They have always known computers, the Internet and social networks. They have a smartphone since childhood. Their way of life is largely determined by excessive connection to the Internet and social networks, often via a smartphone. In the United States, teens check their smartphones an average of 80 times a day.

Compared to the previous generation, the iGen in particular is characterized by less independence, a sense of insecurity, a lower capacity for constant attention, a greater preoccupation with physical appearance (in girls, especially “sexual” physical appearance), and a sharp increase in mental disorders (anxiety and depression), especially among Girls, turning away from religion, less interest in politics, increased tolerance of others’ choices, sexual orientation and mental disorders.

The relationship with social networks has become more important than the relationship with the people who are here and now. Among friends, the gaze is often directed towards the smartphone more than others. When they’re on the line, iGens reply blankly.

In conclusion, Twenge wrote in particular: “iGen is fearful, perhaps even terrified. They grew up slowly, raised in a culture of security and concern about wage inequality, and entered their teens at a time when their main social activity consisted of looking at a small rectangular screen, The source of love and rejection. The devices in their possession have prolonged their childhood while isolating them from true human interaction. As a result, they are the physically safer and mentally weaker generation” (p. 397).

A particularly interesting chapter offers ways to help iGen To prevent and solve problems you identify. Here we provide an overview to which we have added some information.

1. When Nick Bilton interviewed Steve Jobs, co-founder ofapplein order to The New York TimesHe asked her if her children liked the iPad. Jobs replied, “They haven’t used it yet. We’re limiting our children’s use of technology at home.” Then the reporter learned that many experts in technologyfor example the co-founder of TwitterRestrict the time their children spend in front of screens. As Adam Alter notes in his book, does not resist: “It seems that people who make technology products obey the drug dealers’ rule of thumb: Never overbuy your goods.” [3].

Social media companies are run by people who care about making the most money. They make fun of the excesses generated in children, teens…and adults.

Parents should delay giving up the cell phone for as long as possible. The first phone should be a phone without internet, a “dumb phone”, a “dumb phone”, not a “smartphone” yet, a “smart phone”.

When a child is young, the smartphone exposes them to bullying and its harmful effects on mental health. If a child absolutely wants to be on social networks, then a computer is best: a smartphone is always at hand.

2. The first smartphone received by the child must have an application that limits the time spent on it.

3. No person, including adults, should sleep within three meters of a smartphone, turning off. Putting the device in silent mode is not a good solution because you tend to consult it if you cannot fall asleep, including in the middle of the night.

4. The phone should not be used as an alarm clock. It is better to buy an alarm clock.

5. Efforts should be made to put the phone away when a friend is present. Ingenious rule for those who have a drink or a meal together: The first person to consult their smartphone pays the bill.

6. Study problem:

Students are an at-risk population. It is very tempting to interrupt studies to consult a social network. This behavior is not a problem if the consultations were conducted after 30-40 minute periods of study and did not last more than 5 minutes. In this case, it can be a welcome break from a long period of study (a little physical exercise and looking into the distance is preferable to rest the eyes) [4].

During study periods, put the phone away and refrain from checking email or Google.

Always remember that the smartphone is not the best friend, and certainly not when you are a student.



[1] J. Twenge website:

[2] In French, for the “I” generation, see: J. Cottraux (2017) all narcissists. Odell Jacob, 228 p.


[3] Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Work to Keep Us Addicted. New York: PenguinPress.

[4] Shortly after World War II, Norman Macworth (University of Cambridge) conducted experiments at the request of the English military to understand why radar operators, who had to locate submarines, regularly failed in the task. The psychologist made a device similar to a radar and put his subjects in the same situation: isolation, observing for two consecutive hours of brief cues that appeared at random. Already after half an hour the errors multiplied. A simple phone call in the middle of the session improved alertness. Resting for half an hour every half hour significantly reduced errors (“breakdown of wakefulness during prolonged visual search”, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology1948, 1: 6-21).

Since then, other research has shown that when it comes to comprehending course material (not just reading or transcribing notes), performance is best when short breaks are taken approximately every 30 minutes. Note that the capacity for sustained attention increases with age. It is a behavior that, like most behaviors, can develop. Unfortunately, some people suffer from ‘attention deficit’, which makes studying more difficult.

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