With their labile and rapidly developing brains, adolescents are particularly susceptible to addiction, and addiction leads to anxiety and depression. What few parents will know is that what we think of as the most typical addictions and problematic teen behaviours – smoking, drinking, drug-taking, sex leading to teenage pregnancy – are on the decline.
The bad news is that a whole raft of addictions has taken their place. Whereas once the dopamine-hungry brain of a teenager got its fix from smoking a joint or sculling a Bundy and coke, it is now turning to electronic devices for the pleasure jolt that typically comes from playing online games (if you’re a boy) and engaging with social media (if you’re a girl).
What is even more troubling is that, unlike drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, electronic devices are not illicit. Quite the contrary. They are liberally distributed by schools and parents, with few restrictions placed on their use.
However, all is not lost. In Teen Brain, David sets out clear, reasonable and effective rules to help you confidently manage your kids’ use of screens at this critical point in their lives.