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  • Joelle Renstrom, Lecturer of Rhetoric

Is secondhand screen time the new secondhand smoking?

Checking Twitter in front of kids is not the same as blowing smoke in their faces. Smartphones and cigarettes do, however, have some things in common. Both are addictive and both became wildly popular before researchers learned about their addictive properties and health dangers.

On average, American adults touch their phones over 2,500 times a day. According to the American Psychiatric Association, that fits the definition of addiction: “a condition in which a person engages in the use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences.” While researchers continue to study the effects and extent of phone use, the scientific consensus is that phone addiction is real.

Some researchers have already found links between excessive screen time, particularly phone use, and attention deficits, behavioral issues, sleep problems, impaired social skills, loneliness, anxiety and depression. Click here to read more.

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