What would happen if we took away young people’s cell phones?

What would happen if we took away the cellphones of 15- to 24-year-olds for a week? Several universities in Spain have already conducted this experiment. Let’s find out what happened.

latest update: October 4, 2022

On average, young people spend about five hours a day connected to their mobile devices. Four of them are dedicated to social networks. Their favorite is TikTok, and they use the app not just as a means of entertainment and interaction. This is also their favorite channel to learn about the situation.

We have reached a stage where new technologies are no longer so new because entire generations of us have been born and raised with them. Digital natives see the world through their phones and even develop their identities through their screens. They learn, connect, and entertain themselves more in the algorithmic world than in the real world.

Meanwhile, those of us who knew this society before the Internet or Tinder warned our teens about the dangers of their abuse. We do little to get them to regulate their use and be careful about the personal information they expose online. We know these resources are the future and they make our lives easier. However, hard to ignore The cost of mobile phones to the mental health of boys and girls.

A University of Toronto study found that mental distress has increased significantly in recent decades. For this reason and others, we need clear education on how to use technology and social media. Furthermore, if we want to protect the weakest from its most harmful effects, we must stop pointing out that it is a dangerous minefield; increasingly they are discovering that it also has countless virtues.

The most everyday technology, and the one we most abuse, is the mobile phone. because, What happens if we try to limit their use of the device for a week? Several universities in Spain have already carried out this work and achieved such results.

For some teenagers, not having a cell phone is a relief. Their relationships with their families improve and they have more time for activities such as reading.

Boys represent what teens should know about social media
Teenagers spend most of their time on social networks like TikTok.

What would happen if we took away young people’s cell phones for a week?this is what happened

The University of Malaga, in collaboration with the Complutense University of Madrid and the Miguel Hernández University of Elche, conducted an interesting experiment. This is a pioneering study across Europe, involving 97 volunteers aged 15 to 24 years. The aim is to understand the true impact of mobile phone use and social networking on young people.

For this purpose, the group was monitored for three weeks. During the first week, they can use their phones as they please. The second time, they must completely disconnect the device. They haven’t had an internet connection for 7 days. After final experiments, they are now ready for normal use.

Those responsible for this research work had several purposes. One of the aims is to raise awareness about the consequences of cell phone misuse.Another equally important thing is Have them reflect on the sources they use to obtain information. TikTok, for example, is not a reliable source.

How is the result? Did it help this group of nearly a hundred young people who had no internet at all during that period? Let’s analyze it.

“I’m more anxious than when I tried to quit smoking.” This is the statement of many young people when they cannot use their mobile phones for 7 days.

Not having a cell phone can lead to high levels of anxiety

What would happen if we took away young people’s cell phones for a week? Well, many adults have asked themselves the same question. The answer is interesting. What they feel is anxiety and insecurity because the idea of ​​not being able to connect to social networks or communicate with each other makes them uncomfortable.

This feeling is enhanced by the fact that their environment can have the technology they desire. The experiences they describe are similar to those experienced by any addict suffering from withdrawal syndrome.. Some people even explained that they needed to keep their phones nearby, even though they knew they weren’t connected.

Being disconnected from technology allows them to connect with family and have more time

This group of boys and girls realized something. Life would be better without mobile phones, but it’s impossible without them. This idea is contradictory, even ironic, but it is an obvious fact that not only the youngest are aware of. For example, people who know about a time when cell phones didn’t exist yet can’t give up on this technology.

Therefore, the benefits discovered by the team as part of the study are as follows:

  • They are able to spend more time with their families. There are fewer arguments and no more reasons to argue with parents about the time they spend online. Additionally, they are able to watch the series with their parents without being distracted by notifications.
  • They are able to complete academic tasks in less time.
  • They enjoy reading, Ability to read faster, more focused, and more relaxed.
  • Young people admitted that this period of abstinence made them realize their dependence on mobile phones. Not only that. They are also fully aware of how their devices impact their lives.

On the other hand, if we take away young people’s cell phones, something obvious happens. Their social relationships with peers will be affected.. Ultimately, we must not forget that their social worlds are woven from daily online interactions. If that fails, if they lack internet, these connections stop strengthening and they experience high levels of anxiety and discomfort.

Boy reads what would happen if we took away young people's mobile phones
Children and teenagers must learn to use screens appropriately from an early age.

The need for media literacy

The recommended age to start using mobile phones is 16 years old. However, today’s children have been using them almost from birth. At ages 3, 4 and 5, they are already taking away their parents’ devices, and by 10 they are already asking for their first cell phone. This forces us to teach them to use it from an early age.

Just like we teach them to read, cross the street or a foreign languagewe also need to teach them to use the phone well. Education starts with role models.

The idea is that they are the ones who self-regulate said use through proper education and judicious use of technology. The world transcends the screen, and not everything that appears on the screen is real. If the real world and the digital world are combined, life will become extremely rich.

Let us not submit to just one man, the one who rules us by notification and information. scroll endless.

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