What Exactly is Your Teen Doing on Their Phone All The Time?

What Exactly is Your Teen Doing on Their Phone All The Time?

Written by Dr. Cory Reich, Ph.D., Posted on , in Section Editors Picks

One concern of parents these days is the constant use of cell phones. Anywhere you go, there’s no doubt that you will see a teenager on their phone. A recent Apple ad tries to change the perspective on this seemingly negative social behavior.

The ad shows a young boy spending christmas with his family. While the family is decorating the tree, laughing, and enjoying each others company, the young boy is keeping to himself and constantly on his phone. On christmas eve, the family is all gathered around, and the young boy turns on the tv. He plays a video he made with his phone while all of this has been going on.

It’s a touching video, but we need to keep in mind the balance between shutting ourselves off from one another and coming out of that electronics bubble teens seem to lock themselves into. From watching the video, one might conclude that even though it’s ok to record what’s going on, it’s not better.

Social Development

In a book called The Need of Social and Emotional Learning (multiple authors), It emphasizes the importance of social competence.

“Social and emotional competence is the ability to understand, manage, and express the social and emotional aspects of one's life in ways that enable the successful management of life tasks such as learning, forming relationships, solving everyday problems, and adapting to the complex demands of growth and development. It includes self-awareness, control of impulsivity, working cooperatively, and caring about oneself and others. Social and emotional learning is the process through which children and adults develop the skills, attitudes, and values necessary to acquire social and emotional competence. InEmotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman (1995) provides much evidence for social and emotional intelligence as the complex and multifaceted ability to be effective in all the critical domains of life, including school. But Goleman also does us the favor of stating the key point simply: “It's a different way of being smart.”

If you have a teenager who is constantly on their phone, they risk missing out on important social development. in the same book, it states that “Moreover, social and emotional education is targeted to help students develop the attitudes, behaviors, and cognitions to become “healthy and competent” overall—socially, emotionally, academically, and physically—because of the close relationship among these domains.”