Why are Teens Addicted to Their Phones?

With today’s current social norms it is easy to assume that teens have an unhealthy relationship with their devices, however, before we can even answer the question of why are teens addicted to their phones, we must first understand the reasons as to why teens rely on technology so much:


Some suggest that teens are affected by:

  • Online learning
  • To study/ finding study materials
  • Social media (TikTok, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter,etc..)
  • Entertainment (Netflix, other streaming services, games, etc…)
  • To connect during Covid (through facetime, messages, social media, etc…)
  • For news
  • To easily get into contact with friends and family
  • For research(vacations, job requirements, etc..)
  • To stay in contact with employers
  • Financial purposes

All of these reasons are part of why we use technology. At one point or another, all of these tasks were done in other ways, however, by using technology it is all in one place and easier to navigate.


Although it is a major convenience, we have become reliant on our phones. According to Wired.com, “we are trained to become addicted by the design of the software, the rings, and dings, etc… it releases happy hormones in our brain causing us to more positively respond to the stimulus.” This is not unintentional though, “critics blame unscrupulous and unrestrained managers of tech platforms for making it hard to put down your device. Industry insiders like Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist for Google, have highlighted manipulative software designs

Student Shreena Patel on her phone (Abby Shurman)
Image from Wired.com

that trigger intermittent hits of dopamine to keep users glued to their screens.”  Phones are programmed to be addictive which is why teens are so susceptible to fall into the trap of becoming tethered to technology.  The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that makes decisions; however, it is not fully and completely developed until around the age of 20. Just like other addictive activities such as food, drugs, and alcohol, teens fall victim to technology because they too easily give in to impulses such as the ding or chirp of a cell phone.


This reliance has not gone unnoticed, “39 percent of parents say they often or sometimes lose focus at work checking their cell phone, compared to 31 percent of teens who reported losing focus in class for the same reason. What’s more, 51 percent of teens say they often or sometimes find their parents or caregiver to be distracted by a cellphone when they are trying to have a conversation with them.”  What may have started out as a resource to make everyday tasks easier has gotten way out of hand.


Even with an increase in need-based uses for cell phones, many teens have fallen into the vicious trap set for them by large technology corporations and have become addicted to their phones.  Many teens today feel out of touch and unreachable without their phones due to the constant news and media dumps, rapidly changing trends, and easy accessibility to their friends and family.  Science has proven that teens are in fact addicted to their phones, however, it was much more intentional than many may realize.



Wired.com. 22 Aug. 2018, www.wired.com/story/

     even-teens-worry-that-teens-are-addicted-to-their-phones/. Accessed 9 Oct.