Most of us have seen and experienced children, teens and even adults who are so attached their technology that the rest of their lives are diminished. It is alarming when entire families sitting at the table together are all engaged in separate interactions with an electronic device, not talking to each other and not connecting. And the tantrums that occur when the devices need to be put down or left behind can be mind numbing, but there is growing evidence that being too connected can be hazardous. Things that don’t get done, losing sleep, the tantrums I mentioned above and, studies are showing a link between technology use and teen depression.
This report on WSOCTV.COM shares that a recent study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, “found teens who spent time on non-screen activities — such as sports, exercise, or print media — were less likely to report mental health issues than those spending more time on devices such as smartphones”.
However, Dr. Schlozman is a child psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hosiptal’s Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, states that there is still a big question about ’cause and effect’ “Would a depressed kid be more likely to own a cell phone. Or does the ownership of the cell phone lead to a greater likelihood of depression?”
Dr. Schlozman goes on to look at some possible explanations for the correlation, especially those surrounding communication. Less face-to-face communication, where more than typed words give meaning to what is said, can lead to miscommunication. He adds, “Kids are more impulsive than adults. So, they’re more likely to send those texts or e-mails or Instagrams or Snapchats and they can’t take it back”.
The truth is, inter-personal communication skills are an important part of relationships and with out connected relationships we become isolated and more likely to feel lonely, which can lead to depression.
The bottom line is, though “taking the phone away is neither an option, nor a desire, since cellphones do serve a useful purpose. But placing limits – even small ones – can have benefits”. But, of course what do you provide instead or as an incentive?
Work with horses can be very enticing! Our client’s start by learning about horse and herd behavior. They become more capable and confident in themselves as the lead, groom and in time, ride the horse they have chosen. We encourage our client to ‘get to know’ the horse they choose and to build a trusting relationship with ‘their’ horse. They practice decision making and problem solving AND spend time outdoors adding some physical activity into their lives.
The report closes “Mental health experts say it is often difficult to differentiate between normal teen behavior and signs of depression. Loss of interest in activities, increased time spent alone, sleeping during the day, and sudden changes in appetite can all be symptoms that could be associated with teen depression. If in doubt, consult your pediatrician” or mental health professional.
Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy can be a powerful intervention. We are here to help. If you have concerns about your child, teen or even yourself, call or email us and we can schedule a time for you to come to the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our incredible herd, lean more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help.