Get this. You are asked to give up some habits, and on the list are texting, using the social media and consuming junk food and alcohol. Which one would you give up? You could go without all these for one day, right? But can you last one month?
According to the research conducted by the Allen Carr Addiction Clinics in England, 83% of teenagers would be in great distress when asked to go without any of these. The reason? Addiction. Regardless of what the teenagers like to think, this behavior has been linked to developing addictive tendencies later on in life.
John Dicey, who is global managing director at Allen Carr Addiction Clinics, is also a senior therapist, says, “We’re talking about addictive behaviors: if you’re capable of addictive behaviors at 12, our argument is you’re more likely to develop further problems with addiction. That behavior has been normalized for you and when you are older you are earning your own money so you’re more likely to fritter it away.”
It’s hardly plausible to avoid technology, since its involvement in our lives is immense. But the study showed that teenagers tend to send 17 texts messages (1.5 each waking hour) in a day and check social media 11 times. Hence, unjust and injudicious use of technology, as established by the study, has led the researchers to think where our generation is headed and what roles are parents playing, since they tend to unintentionally fund their children’s thrill seeking behaviors.
According to the study, the results acquired from a 1,000 participants aged between 12 to 18 years, has shown that most teenagers, almost 66% would not be able to give up texting followed by 58% votes to social media. Junk food stood at 28% while alcohol was at 6%.
The researchers discovered that almost all of the children used a substantial amount of money (on a monthly basis, this amount summed up to £62) on texting and mobile data and delved deeper into looking at the mode of acquiring money with which the teenagers funded their interests. 14% admitted lying to their parents while 7% had stolen it from a close relative. And in a large city like London, these particular habits peaked up to almost 30%.
“The central thrust of what we’re saying is that these habits – the social media and technology – are getting young people to display the hallmarks of addictions at a young age. They can’t legitimately afford it,” said Dicey.
Looking into the causes of such thrill seeking behavior, the researchers saw that among teenagers, almost 72% were unaware of the potential risks towards development of addictive behavior through injudicious use of technology. They also say that risky behaviors like instant gratification and pursuit of pleasure-seeking behavior and stimulation points to a potential addictive tendency. Peer pressure may also play a role in acquiring this tendency.
“Unless we educate our young people as to the dangers of constant stimulation and consumption, we are sleepwalking towards an epidemic of adulthood addiction in the future,” he concluded.