Youth treats social media like an iron lung


Keenen Langley, Opinions Writer

The average time kids and teens spent on TikTok grew to 91 minutes per day in 2021, up from the year before, according to Techcrunch.

As time goes on and the years go by, more and more kids and teenagers spend their valuable time on TikTok, Youtube, Twitter, and other things of the sort like video games. This overuse of entertainment has caused many problems within our youth, which can all be defined under the term Internet Use Disorder.
Technology Addiction, Internet Addiction, or Internet Use Disorder (IUD) is an impulse control disorder that relates to the overuse of the internet. This is connected to things such as the excessive use of social media or playing video games for tons of hours per day. 

Although this can be very easy to overlook as just people being lazy, it’s a serious problem that can lead to many more severe mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention deficits, and more. 

This addiction has been especially prevalent in teenagers, and it’s not difficult to notice. From teenagers staying up until 2:00 a.m. on their phones to teenagers spending the majority of class time watching videos or playing games on their phones, signs of potential IUDs are everywhere.

Of course, simply using your phones or playing video games does not mean that you’re addicted, but eventually, it gets to a certain point where it’s undeniable. If you’re laying in bed and can’t get off your phone, or finding it difficult to focus on tasks without scrounging for bursts of dopamine, then there’s a potential problem.

Teenagers getting hooked into these apps and games isn’t just a mere coincidence either, they are purposefully made in order to get you addicted to them. There’s a reason TikToks is short, or that video games constantly add systems like loot boxes despite the fact they don’t improve the gameplay. It’s because these systems hook you in and get you addicted. These short videos will supply you with constant dopamine and getting something rare out of a loot box will give you a massive dopamine spike. 

These companies are trying their best to reel you in and capture you within their apps and games because of the money you will generate for them. Teenagers especially are targeted due to the amount of free time they have. If they get you while you’re a teenager, or even a kid, then you’ll continue to supply them with cash even when you grow up into an adult. 

Internet Addiction has become very difficult to fight against, but it’s not impossible. Schools can start teaching about it like how they preach the dangers of smoking or drunk driving. Internet Addiction may not seem as bad as these other addictions, but it can be just as life-ruining depending on the person. 

The symptoms are certainly no joke and schools should start taking every step to prevent this addiction from developing. If we don’t start fighting against these apps and systems, then we’ll live in a future where everyone is addicted to their phones and games.