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Technology Addiction in Today’s Youth: A Review of Literature

Haley Torres

University of Texas at El Paso



The issue with technology addiction today, is that as continue to grow, the technology

around them is as well. This can cause greater problems in the youth today because they are born

into a technology era and learn about them at early stages in their lives. This leads to

miscommunication in the youth with their families, schools, and the real world. This study

analyzes the communication styles among the youth and reality. The purpose of this study is to

explore some of the main variables that influence the youth to become addicted to the technology

world. The study seeks to answer the research question, in what was does technology affect

teenager’s life? The goal is to analyze the demographics of Technology addiction and determine

what the main influences are that cause this “trend”.


The mechanical age was when people began to see technology and its growth between

the 1450s and 1840s. With the evolution of social media and technology more people began to

fall into this trend. Today technology is found everywhere and is used everywhere. According to

the FCD Prevention Works, the over-dependence of technology has impacted people to a point

where people need technology to survive in a modern social world. Which can lead to teen

consequences that span from mild annoyance to feeling of isolation, extreme anxiety, and

depression when away from technology. The FDC also explains that technology fulfills our

natural human need for stimulation, interaction, and changes in the environment with great

efficiency. This impacts a humans’ pleasure systems in the brain similar to how drugs and

alcohol do.

Computers, phones, game systems, tablets, and the internet allow a variety of access

points can promote dependence on technology and create negative consequences towards the

youth. Today people have access to different apps and tools added to their tablets, phones, and

even watches. These “apps” can be used in different ways that keep you intact with the world

around you or what really is just the technology world. Teens and young adults begin to create a

phenomenon known as “FOMO”, also known as the “Fear of Missing Out”. They feel the need

to stay connected to the internet, so they aren’t the last to know about social happenings or a

news story.

There have been several instances in people’s lives where the problems that are created

are mostly technology-based. Problems such as, less face-to-face interactions with family or

friends, increase in sleeping disorders, and failure in academic grades. Technology has a speed in

which makes everything available which actually slows down a teens availability to process and

learn something. For these reasons, the youth continue to overuse and depend on the technology

to stay intact, and deserves consideration through the review of these three questions:

1. What is technology and the problems it creates in today’s world?

2. Why and how does it attract the youth more?

3. What are possible solutions that can help keep technology from being as addictive for

the current and future generations?

These questions will help aim to the purpose of this literature review by providing research and

background information on technology, the problems and possible solutions to help people

interact more with others than with computers.

What is technology and the problems it creates in the today’s world?

Technology addiction is an obsessive behavior that increases the negative consequences

to its user. Teens use technology as a boredom buster or an escape from reality that helps them

from feeling alone or isolated. Research on internet addiction and depression demonstrated that

the overuse can result in a disruption of the normal life of an individual and the people around

them, were associated with an increase in the frequency of depression. Excessive use of

technology can displace valuable time that people spend with family and friends, which can lead

to smaller social circles and higher levels of loneliness and stress. (Nie et al., 2002). Other

consequences of excessive usage have been documented to neglect academic, work, and

domestic responsibilities, disruption of relationships, social isolation, and sometimes even

financial problems. (Griffiths, 2000; McKenna & Bargh, 2000). This addiction may also

contribute to anxiety and stress. (Egger & Rauterberg 1996; Yu, 2001). The ones who suffer from

anxiety and stress often have a great deal of trouble when it comes to communicating and

interacting with others in a positive and meaningful way. In spite of the widely use of

technology. Phycologist and educators have been aware of the negative impacts of its use,

especially the overuse and the related physical and psychological problems (Greenfield, 2000).

There are both long-term and short-term effects of online addiction. The short-term effects

include unfinished tasks, forgotten responsibilities, and weight gain. Long-term effects are seen

more in a physical symptom matter, such as backache, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and

vision problems (Adams, M). According to Oberlin College of Computer Science, addicts may

develop technostress where they internalize how a computer works. This can cause social

withdrawal, feeling at ease interacting with people online rather than in person, face-to-face. This

problem is raising a phenomenon affecting many with varying frequency around the world and

has produced negative impacts on the academic, relationship, financial, and occupational aspects

of those many lives (Young, 1998; Chou & Hsiao, 2000). Social-networking websites promise to

connect us to friends, but teens emerging from the data are some of the loneliest.

(Figure 1) Presents U.S. Suicide Percentage Rate change with generations who are

more digitally connected and less connected through the years 2000-2016.

Since 2007, the homicide rate among teens has declined, but the suicide rate has

increased. When teens started spending less time together, they become less likely to kill each

other to more likely to kill themselves (Twenge,2017). Reacher’s have found evidence that

people who overuse technology are more likely to also use other substances like drugs. A

preliminary study found that a group of teens who “hyper-text”, meaning sending more than 120

texts a day, were 40% more likely to have used cigarettes and twice as likely to have used

alcohol than students who were less frequent users of technology. A similar research noted that

those who had spent more hours per school day than peer on networking sites have more of a risk

to have thoughts of suicide. Damage to brain systems connecting with the processes of emotions,

decision- making, and attention are affected in both substance addicts and tech addicts. Although

people might not admit I, one of the reason people are obsessive with social media is to create a

forum for their egos. This does not imply that all people are egotistical narcissists, but that there

is a need for self-expression followed by feedback of others. One of the consequences of sharing

personal detail of one another is learning about each other and connecting with others, making

people feel understood and not alone. This is another main reason why the youth care so much

about staying connected online (Conrad, B., 2017). No one wants to feel alone in this world and

online world gives that benefit of the doubt.

Why and how does it attract the youth more?

In a publication for Biotechnology Information website, the study, which was conducted

by the department of adults Psychiatry in the Poland Medical University, showed that internet

addiction was seen to be quite popular and common among young people, especially those who

were only children. In fact, its recorded that every fourth child is addicted to the internet more

than the others (Adams, M). According to statistics from the Monitoring the Future study, funded

by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Twenge reports that: Teens who spend more time than

average onscreen activities are more likely to be unhappy and those who spend more time than

average on on-screen activities are more likely to be happy (Twenge, 2017). Authors report that

there is a number of emotional factors which may be related to college students addiction

(Kandell, 1998). This is why most students and children suffer from social comfort, diminish

impulse control, and depression. According to a Survey done by Jean M. Twenge, Screen-time,

in particular social media use, does indeed cause unhappiness. The teens who visit social-sites

daily but see their real friends in person less frequently agree with the statement “A lot of the

times I feel lonely”, “left out”, and “I often wish I had more good friends.”.

(Figure 2) Graph shows different percentages of teens of ages 13- 17 and the specific

sites they use evidence from a survey done in the years of 2014-2015.

Loneliness for teens had spiked in the year of 2013 and have been high ever since. Eight

graders who are heavy users of social media are reported to increase their risk of depression by

27%, while those who play sports or even do homework more than the average teen cut their risk

significantly. The teens who spend over three hours a day or more on an electronic are 35% more

likely to have a risk factor for suicide. (Twenge, 2017). When it comes to kids they are growing

to find who they really are, and to do so they adapt and grow to their surroundings. Once a child

or teen find something they are good at they become interested and naturally move toward that

path. Of course, when it comes to work, creating a life on the internet is far easier than cultivate

true purposes within their families or communities. Technology fulfills our natural need for

stimulation, interaction, and changes in environment with great efficiency. When teenagers

experience stress, their electronics tend to become a quick and easy way to fill in those basic

needs. It creates pleasure symptoms of the brain the same way other substances do, such as drugs

or alcohol. That’s why it’s important to keep the youth busy with other activities that are off-

screen because then they’ll use the internet as a boredom buster or escape (Lester, H., 2018).

What are possible solutions that can help keep technology from being as addictive

for the current and future generations?

Any addiction is no laughing matter, it affects not only the addict but everyone who

surrounds that person. These addictions can be triggered by underlying emotional disorders such

as depression and anxiety, therefore medications are considered in the hope that treating the

cause will cause a cessation of technology addiction. ( Adams, M.) The basic medications that

are recommended are usually anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs. However, some effects are

the over-use of anti-depressants to where the user becomes dependent on the medication. That is

why it is recommended that the medication should be gradual and under medical supervision for

those being treated and to get the best results of prevention. Preventing teen addiction means

finding a balance within students’ lives, that way teens do not misuse their technology to escape

challenges, socializing, or emotions in real life. To find or create a balance between real-world

experiences and time spent online will create more balance in the users mental and physical life.

The guidance of an adult, believe it or not effects the productivity in the youth. Life requires

energy and often teens have too little energy to spend on their responsibilities. With the help of

an adult figure to promote healthy way to replenish their energy and put it to use teens are more

likely to balance their productivity. Setting basic restrictions or rules create a better chance at

being distracted by these devices. Rules such as no devices during bedtime, dinner time, school,

or other family outings. This gives a less percentage of teens to suffer from chronic sleep

deprivation or other symptoms that mimic ADD or ADHD (Lester, H. 2018).

(Figure 3) Provides analysis of those who agreed that they were addicted to thier

technology devices and the percentage of those who did not admit they were addicted.

Having self-awareness can make a big difference because once you realize you have a

problem you usually want to do something to prevent it from getting worst. Most people simply

do not understand how much time they spend on their devices and how it invades their lives,

that’s why it is considered one of the most troubling signs of this epidemic (Greer, S., 2018).

Taking control over the whole addiction situation by tracking your habits can make one feel

better about how their spending their time. Holding yourself accountable and setting boundaries

will create a more mindful behavior to parents and their children. It’s easier said than done, but

small changes to disconnect from the online world and more into the real world can influence

bigger and better ones for the future (Greer, S., 2018).

Conclusion/ Synthesis

In conclusion, this literary review has analyzed various amounts of data and has answered

the many questions concerning technology addiction in Today’s world and its influences on the

youth. The current situation continues to grow as technology continues to enhance every year.

However, many past users have conquered their addiction and are learned to be more productive

in their life-time. Research and rates based off present evidences shows negative impacts of this

change because most people still may not be getting the right kind of face-to-face stimulus

required for cultivating and retaining meaningful relationships. From Adam Atlr’s point of view,

he’s suggest years from now, technology addiction may face the same kind of health risk as

smoking and eventually become a regulated resource that people become dependent on. Business

should take heed and keep an eye out on those younger generations (Smith, S. 2018). If the world

does not realize that change and restrictions should be promoted to those addictive tech devices,

then people will turn into robots themselves and will believe their life depends on technology.


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