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How smartphones are causing kids to experience anxiety, depression and low self-esteem

A teenager on a cellphone alongside other kids leaving school.
A teenager on a cellphone alongside other kids leaving school.

EL PASO, Texas -- No parent wants their child to suffer from anxiety, depression or low self-esteem, but new studies show that unlimited access to smartphones and other devices are causing those very symptoms.

Psychologist Thomas Kersting says that constant distraction and the need to be entertained is wreaking havoc on our kids’ minds and personal relationships.

Kersting says too much screen time is affecting our children's ability to flourish in the real world as anxiety, depression and attention issues soar. And there's even a new diagnosis: acquired ADHD.

He says too much screen time changes kids' brains - they become so dependent on the constant stimulation that electronic devices deliver, it becomes almost impossible to concentrate on things like class work. Other issues – like low self-esteem and anxiety – are made worse by electronic devices, as teens compare their lives to others.

Bottom line is that phones and tablets are here to stay. Parents and teens can come to some common understandings - but experts say parents need to come up with the ground rules.

Here are Kersting's tips:

  1. Keep your child's room clean of screens - no matter how much grief you get.
  2. Your child's phone is your phone - you have full access, anytime you want.
  3. No electronics during dinner for anyone, including you.
  4. Limit screen time for entertainment, including TV, to 2 hours a day.
  5. Be a role model. When you're with people who matter to you, put the phone away and interact.
Article Topic Follows: Health

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Hillary Floren

Hillary Floren co-anchors ABC-7’s Good Morning El Paso.


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