Teen Counseling: Smart Phone addiction; Phoenix, Cave Creek , Scottsdale Arizona

Smart Phones for your children and teens can have many potential problems in your family including but not limited to increasing potential: addictions, loneliness, depressed mood, anxiety, poor grades, poor self esteem, poor social skills, poor family communication skills, obesity and more. Too much electronics in general can be problematic for youth.

The behavioral addiction of smart phone use begins to form neurological connection in your child’s brain that is similar to an opioid addiction according to a recent study by the Journal or Neuro Regulation. The replacement of people face to face was what was believed to cause loneliness and depressed mood and increase anxiety. The brain is being hijacked at the neural pathways with partial reinforcement and notifications and likes and bells and rewards and sounds that keep youth and adults addicted to there smart phones.. Features are created to draw your attention to the screen and to keep you clicking on the desired items.

Children and teens are falling more and more out of balance. Children and teens are using their smart phones late at night when parents are sleep. They are texting friends at all hours and this is impacting their sleep during the week and weekday. Research shows a child and teen need at least 9-11 hours of sleep a night and some are obtaining only 4-6 hours of sleep. This sleep reduction is having a huge impact on their mental health. Reduced sleep is impacting performance at school. Children and teens are asleep in class or unable to retain information in class. Children are distracted and are not able to focus on doing homework . The smartphone is DisneyLAnd in their hands 24-7.

Children and teenagers that are spending too much time on their smartphones are not physically active . physical activity is vital for a child’s mental health and physical health according to numerous research studies. Children and teenagers are not joining clubs and teams or doing philanthropic activities because they are so attached to their smart phones.

Family communication is heading South at a rapid rate. Children and teenagers are not coming out of their rooms and not involved with family events and activities. Heads are into the smartphones and children are not connecting with family members or eating dinner with families.

I did a detailed research paper on video games . Developers use behavioral techniques to increase time played on the game as well as reinforcers similar to the same methods used in gambling in casinos to keep peoples brains wired in hope of winning so they will spend money. There are many games that children in my office report have incentivized them to buy more items that will allow them more success in the game be it ammunition, power, players that play at a higher level. Some youth will spend 200.00 dollars from Holiday gifts to buy these extras and feel they need them to continue playing…addiction.

Parents need to set extreme limits on all electronic devices and create a contract with each child and monitor the usage otherwise your child will likely get out of balance and it will be a lot harder to reverse the negative behaviors a few years down the road without strong and firm boundaries.

Many Teens and Children are not spending time with family. Children are not learning accountability and responsibility at home. Children and adolescents are not doing chores. Youth are not eating dinner with parents nor sharing thoughts and feelings about there day. Children and Teens are not exercising and their mood is suffering. Teenagers are not learning healthy social skills and interpersonal skills. Youth are not doing philanthropic activities or joining clubs and organizations. Well some children and teens are however the numbers are headed South since the proliferation of the smart phone. The smart phone is like having Disney World as well as adult world items at your child’s finger tips. Why should a child do anything when they have 24-7 entertainment… There are many vital reasons why electronic use must be managed at a very high level. Relationships, Grades, social skills, and Physical health are spiraling downward.

Teen Depression, Anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and obesity is on the rise! Grades are heading SOUTH!!


What is creating the above rise in child and teen mental health issues?


Many experts believe it is the rise of the smartphone and social media applications as well as over use of the internet and smartphones and social media: instagram, snapchat etc.


In psychology it is well know that spending time with people face to face is a huge predictor for psychological well being.


One of the best measure to prevent mental illness is to spend time face to face with people that are loving and supporting.


The addictive nature of the technology is throwing children and teens out of balance. Children and adolescents are out of balance in spending time with family and loved ones . Youth are addicted to their: video games, smartphones, you tube, instagram, and snapchat. Children and teens are drunk on their technology and out of balance.


Children and teens are not spending enough time exercising. Exercise is vital for physical well being and mental well being. Without 24-7 technology your child is more likely to ride a bike or walk or join a team or individual sport.


Over thirty percent of children and teenagers are overweight and or obese. Diabetes and many other physical health issues are connected to this inactivity.


Research shows that blue light emitted from screens damage your child’s sleep. We also know that poor sleep is connected to poor performance as well as mood and behavioral issues in your child and adolescent teenager.


Many children and teens are performing well below their ability either failing classes or obtaining D’s when they have the ability to receive higher grades. The lack of motivation is connected to using smartphones, and social media , and texting, and internet usage. Children and teens are spending hours and hours entertaining themselves on technology however are not taking the time to do homework or study for tests. Further teens are up in bed receiving and sending texts and photos and videos till 3am etc. This behavior impacts sleep and performance at a very high level.


Children and teen motivation to do activities with family is down. Youth are not motivated to do chores at home when they can immerse themselves in : Netflix, video games, social media, you tube, instagram, snapchat and more.


Parents must set limits on these devices and make it a priority in order to modify behaviors. Teaching children work comes before play is an important lesson for life skills. Teaching children to honor and respect their parents is vital before they are spoiled and entitled with electronic gadgets.


It is possible to modify your child’s behavior. I have worked with parents with children that have: learning disabilities, autism, oppositional defiance, downs syndrome and many other disorders. Obtaining support to help you from a professional is a sign of power and strength.

Children as young as 5 and 6 are exposed to explicit images of pornography at a very early age. If your child or teen has internet access there is a very high probability that they are being exposed to porn. The numbers are staggering.

Children and teens that are exposed to porn are more likely to develop sexually risky behaviors and become sexually active at a much earlier age due to their exposure to porn. Violent and sadistic images of pornography are pervasive on the internet.

Children and teens can access Pornography through many different devices: smartphones, iPod, WII, PS3-4, X Box, Computers, iPads, DS games, any device that has access to the internet. Children are being exposed to a high concentration of porn as a daily diet and it is is very dangerous.

Pornography influences children’s attitudes toward relationships and sexuality. Exposure to porn can lead children to engage in dangerous sexual activities that are unhealthy and extremely risky. Exposure to porn can foster use of drugs and alcohol and unprotected sexual behaviors.

A majority of boys and girls over 12 are exposed to pornography. The largest group of individuals viewing pornography on line is not an adult it is children ages 12- 17 that are watching these graphic images daily.

Children exposed to pornography will begin to see sexuality as a disconnected activity from a healthy loving relationship. The children will learn to objectify women and men. Children and adolescents will begin to see others in a context that is devoid of emotions or empathy and in a contact where people do not have: feelings., personalities, or needs.

Pornography hurts adults, children, couples, families, and society. Among adolescents, pornography hinders the development of a healthy sexuality, and among adults, it distorts sexual attitudes and social realities. In families, pornography use leads to marital dissatisfaction, infidelity, separation, and divorce. Pornography will handicap one’s ability to be intimate in marriage and will ruin relationships.

Addiction to porn and the internet will also ruin lives. The inability to communicate and connect with partners and have healthy social skills is a huge issue..Child and teen pregnancy and sexual diseases are on the rise as well.

There are many things parents can do to help their child first is to have parental controls and devices that will block all pornography from the internet. There are a number of free programs out there however at the moment you may need a device for your: router, PC, and mobile devices however it can be done and is vital to help your children. Of course explaining healthy behaviors and intimacy and love is vital as well.


Teen “Drug’s”: Internet, Gaming, Smart Phone. Anxiety, Depression increase! Counseling Teens Phoenix Arizona.

What are your children and teens doing for the largest portion of their week? It is not sleep and it is not school and it is not sports and it is not reading. It is an addiction to the internet and media.

The list of video games children and teens are playing is infinite. Many teens are playing violent video games and many are playing fantasy video games and some are playing sports related video games. Some of the most popular are: Halo, Call of Duty, League of Legends, GTA grand Theft Auto and more.

Texting is taking up many hours of your child and teen’s day and it is most likely disrupting studying for school. Many children and teens in my office state they are texting at 3am during weekdays. The result is failing and poor grades. Furthermore they are exhausted and tired and this impacts their mood daily. Research on child and teen sleep is clear a child who is not receiving adequate sleep will have mood and behavioral issues at home and at school.

Many teens are watching you tube on their smart phones for hours on end. Some are watching movies, and comedy acts, some are watching much more. Children and teens are playing video games on their phones like Clash of Clans or Mind Craft etc.

Most teens and children have created more covert accounts on Instagram and Snapchat more so than a Facebook account. Teens are spending a great deal of time on their social media programs. Some are on twitter and other apps.

The total amount of time children and teens are spending on total electronic use is between 45-70 hours a week.

Watching movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime is pervasive and obviously there are endless TV series and movies to last a life time at their disposal.

There are some positives in using these devices. Yes, it can be used for studies and for social connection, however, it is all about balance and there is no balance when these devices are going 24-7.

An immense amount of research shows a correlation of: depression, anxiety, low self esteem, behavioral issues, mood issues, with the increase in internet, smart phone, and video game use.

Insomnia is on the rise and research by many medical journals state the electronic component is impacting your child’s brain and not allowing them to sleep as deeply and not allowing them to fall asleep when electronics are used late intothe night.

Children and families are being pulled apart because youth are holed up in their bedrooms glued to their smartphones and computers and I pads.

Families are not sharing their days together at the dinner table. Families are not spending enough one on one time together. Intimacy among families are on a huge decline.

Friendships are being replaced by playing a video game with someone your child has never met and feeling like this is what friendship is all about. Face to face communication has become less frequent and communication is switching to texting and internet chats.

Having someone like what you post is replacing real deep sharing of thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams.

The internet is a huge distraction for students that are studying. Many children and teens as young as 8 are going to adult web sites and watching inappropriate videos daily and are not focused on enjoying childhood. Childhood is being lost.

Physical activity is headed South and Physical health problems among youth are on the rise and is connected to inactivity. Diabetes for youth is skyrocketing and obesity is on the rise due to internet and media addiction.

Internet addiction is on the rise and children are dropping out of school due to this addiction. Creativity for children are at an all time low. Social skills and family communication are at an all time low as well.

Balance is vital for the youth of our world.


Over 50 percent of children under the age of two have been using smart phones. There are many reasons why smart phone use is not suggested by experts including American pediatric Organization and many more researchers in the field of child development and emotional and physical health.

The British government states that using: smart phones, Pc, I pads, Tablets, iPhones, video games, computers for young children will create severe emotional problems for your child. It can be challenges socially, insomnia, anxiety, depression, explosive anger, behavior issues and more. Human cues and human interaction and bonding are impacted by electronic devices.

Parents should be involved in: creative and active engagement with their children. Communication and teaching and playing with your child not games or electronic devices.

Children that watch or see aggression on TV, smart phones, video games, you tube will have aggressive thoughts and will likely ooze out with aggressive behavior verbally or physically. Garbage in Garbage out. You might be thinking well my child is playing creative games or educational games. I can assure you that they will be exposed to violent video games, shocking you tube videos, pornography ( majority of children under 8 exposed to it on phones or computers).  These visual images very likely will impact your child’s sleep patterns. Your child’s sleep impacts his or her mood. Your child’s mood will impact his or her school performance and social skills and self esteem. Family communication will decrease and interpersonal skills will diminish . It is vital to set serious limits and boundaries on your youth. Research shows 1 out of 9 youth are addicted to video games and their smart phones.

Obesity is on the rise in Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona. Throughout the United States of America over 20 percent of children 8-17 are considered obese. There are a few things contributing to this outcome. Poor diets, lack of exercise daily, and sitting around playing video games, net-flixing, smart phoning, and more..Take these items away and your child or teen will have a reason to go outside and play sports, ride a bike, go to a gym, dance, hike, swim, light weights, play football, throw a ball around, skateboard, join a group and become social. Friends on line are not real friends in the sense that most discuss gaming only and their is rarely a physical interaction with the gaming friends that live all across the world .

The electronics are taking away time from learning behavior skills, academic skills, social skills, life skills, and physical activity that is vital for mood regulation and for stress management. You can modify your child’s behavior through counseling and parenting tips .

Many parents come to my office weekly with a wide array of challenges: disrespect, poor grades, anxiety, poor self esteem, poor social skills, Bipolar, addiction, depressed mood, defiance, conduct disorder, OCD, Aspergers, autism etc. All of these issues are important for a child, teen and family. Are smart phones the cause of these problems? They may not be the root cause of the problems , however, if your child is spending more than 1,5 hours a day : texting, you tubing, watching TV, playing games on his or her phone, playing  video games on a computer,x box, PS3 , DS player, smartphone, face booking, insta-gramming, snap chatting, TV, texting.. then all the above are more likely to occur.

Electronic devices and games are very addictive and are different than TV. Children and teens are sucked in by psychological principals that keep them attached to their devices. One psychological principle used is partial reinforcement. Children and teens are rewarded for various moves they make and can win rewards that are monetary and visual and auditory and your child is tapping in to many regions of the brain that are giving him or her natural chemicals that keep them playing. Also most children and teens would rather be on an electronic device you tubing or net flixing than doing algebra or an English paper or really most homework.

If your child is sucked into the electronic vortex chances are grades are not great and learning is not optimized. Your teen also is not learning social and interpersonal skills hiding behind the smart phone or computer or video game. Playing Halo online with friends is not “real life communication skills” that are needed for relationships and employment except possibly learning to write. So it is a very limited type of communication.

If your child is on electronics most of the day chances there relationship with family is suffering. Family communication is not optimized. It is important to learn face to face communication skills with family for healthy and happy relationships.

If your child or teen is in his or her room most of the day and night chances are he or she is not getting the needed sleep for a teen that is 9-10 hours a night. If your child is not getting adequate sleep he or she will be irritable and angry and unfocused in class. Your child may sleep in class and not be able to pay attention to the teacher as well. Relationships will go South and so will grades.

Research show that the more children and teens spend time on  social media the lower satisfaction they report regarding their lives. Childhood experiences are vital in shaping how they will succeed in adult life.





Lifeworksaz.com , David Abrams MAPC, LPC, CAGS has been working with youth and families with behavior and emotional issues and mental health challenges for over fifteen years .



Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.