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Student Research Guide: Teen Phone Addiction: Home

by Caden Hein

Introduction to the Topic

For my research topic, I chose to write about how many teens are becoming addicted to smartphones. I covered how phones have many benefits to them but include multiple ways addiction can develop in a teen. First, excessive smartphone use and substance abuse have similar ways of developing. Many teens use their smartphones excessively because of social media, a fear of missing out, and the sounds phones give off when a notification arrives. A teen's susceptibility to a smartphone addiction depends on their age, gender, regulatory skills, and personality traits. Even though some teens are unsusceptible to smartphone addiction, research shows that most are, and many negative physical and psychological side effects will develop. Physical side effects include insomnia, fatigue, self-harm, and obesity while psychological effects include depression, anxiety, stress, decreased self-esteem levels, narcissistic behaviors, and nomophobia. Lastly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, staying at home and an increased amount of time on their phones, teens becoming addicted to phones is rising rapidly. All these questions have been based on research done and each question is answered accordingly based on scholarly sources found.

Keywords for searching the topic

  • Teen
  • Adolescents
  • Youth
  • Teenager
  • Phone
  • Cellphone
  • Smartphone
  • Problematic mobile phone use
  • PMPU
  • Addiction
  • Impulse
  • Behavior
  • Personality
  • Self-control
  • Phone addiction
  • Phone dependency
  • Social media
  • Psychological effects
  • physical effects
  • Nomophobia
  • Self-esteem
  • FOMO
  • Depression
  • Dopamine 
  • Brain function
  • Coronavirus
  • Covid-19
  • Pandemic

Best Databases/Search Engines

Start Your Research Here

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, June 12). Problematic smartphone use. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:25, June 12, 2021, from

This is a source from Wikipedia on problematic phone use. However, this is surprisingly in-depth and covers many areas surrounding this topic. It explained how problematic phone use comes in a wide variety of ways including being on social media or the internet and too much time spent on it. It talks about how problematic phone use also relates to when people use it when it might be dangerous, like driving. It also goes fairly in-depth on the mental and physical consequences of problematic phone use and how it can significantly change and/or impact someone's personal life. This was a great reference because it covered so many parts of the research topic. I was able to learn something about the topic, and then search that topic with keywords through a database that would find peer-reviewed articles. This is a Wikipedia page so obviously, it is not scholarly. However, it is a great reference to find subtopics in the main topic and then find scholarly sources based on what you found in this article. The picture found on the Wikipedia article is a great sum up of this research topic and how many are more social on their phone than real life.

Alic, M., & Harmon, A. (2016). Media use. In Gale (Ed.), Gale encyclopedia of children's health: Infancy through adolescence (3rd ed.). Gale. Credo Reference:

This source addresses how there is a great increase in the amount of time spent on media and how it influences children's development, relationships, and attitudes. it covers how much different age groups are on media and the common mental and physical problems they develop because of excessive use. It also addresses how parents should be concerned about excessive media use and how to address ways for children to not develop it. It fits with my topic and is a great reference to get started with research. It explains many keys facts that are important to developing addictions and consequences from them. Even though it isn't completely focused on phone addictions, the source shows how these are all connected. Even though these are only reference sources, it's important for them to be reliable. It is fairly authoritative because it was written by Margaret Alic who has a Ph.D. and has a long reference page.


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