A federal survey that tracked alcohol- and drug-use among teens has shown a sizable decrease in usage that could be tied to technology use. Science has shown that digital devices may stimulate pleasure centers in the brain the way drugs do. Dr. David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction at the University of Connectivty School of Medicine equates portable devices to a dopamine pump, with smartphone engagement triggering a chemical release similar to that triggered by drugs.
Between 2005 and 2015, past-month alcohol use among 12- to 17-year-olds fell from 16.5% to 9.6%, while marijuana use remained flat and cocaine usage fell. And while it may be too soon for a cause-and-effect relationship to be made, it’s hard to ignore the connection between the fall in these figures and the rise in smartphone usage.