Does your child spend an inordinate amount of time with his/her cell phone? If so, maybe the kid is depressed, a recent South Korean study found.
The top one-third users of cell phones at a South Korean High School were more likely to be unhappy or bored, reports the Los Angeles Times on the study. Those in the top one-third are defined as using their phones more than 90 times a day, including text messaging.
Apparently, many teenagers extend their personalities to the phone, researchers found. “They are portals for being in touch with other people — extensions of themselves,” Christina Wasson, a University of North Texas anthropologist who has studied cell phone use, tells the Times.
Here’s what James Katz, a professor of communications at Rutgers University had to say about teen phone usage:
A central concern for teenagers is being in touch with friends and drawing boundaries about who’s in and who’s out. People who are anxious and depressed are concerned about whether they are in or out and naturally often look at their cell phones to see if they’ve gotten answers to the text messages they sent out.
In case you’re wondering, two of every five youth – ages 8 to 18 – already have a cell phone, reports the Times. Most of these kids spend about an hour a day using them.
I consider my Blackberry very necessary for my career, but something of an annoyance. I spend little time talking on it, but I use the e-mail function functionality constantly when I’m away from my desk. Unfortunately, I’m on call 24-7.
I can’t help wonder how cell phones would have affected me when I was a loner teenager? Would it have been a good thing or a bad? It’s hard to say. I also wonder what impact all this phone time has on kids studies – are they a positive or negative force? I have few examples because my kids are so young.