Technology addiction and its adverse effects on the youth


By Elolo Alfred KONGLO

In an era dominated by digital advancements and connectivity, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, especially in the era where we rely heavily on technology for survival. While the benefits of technology are undeniable, there is a growing concern about the adverse effects of technology addiction on the youth. As smartphones and social media platforms such as Facebook, X, Telegram, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. become more pervasive, it is essential to address the potential risks associated with excessive technology use among young individuals.

What is Technology Addiction?

Technology addiction, often referred to as digital addiction or screen addiction, is characterized by an obsessive and compulsive use of digital devices, leading to negative consequences on physical, mental, and social well-being. The youth, being the most digitally connected demographic, are particularly vulnerable to the allure of constant connectivity and instant gratification that technology offers. One youth affirmed, “I’m so addicted to my phone that I can’t seem to help myself anytime I run out of data”.

According to the report published in January 2024 by BankMyCell, a company that trades mobile phones for cash, there are 6.93 billion active smartphone users in the world which is equivalent to 85.75% of the global population with a projected annual increase of 2.2%. The situation is different in Ghana as DataPortal estimated in its January 2023 report that there are 44 million active mobile phone users in Ghana, representing about 140% of the country’s total population. These are alarming statistics that call for policymakers’ attention to the topic of technology addiction.

What are the signs and effects of Technology Addiction?

One of the significant adverse effects of technology addiction is its impact on mental health. Excessive screen time has been linked to an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues among young people. The constant exposure to curated social media content can create unrealistic expectations, leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. The pressure to conform to online standards of success and beauty can contribute to the deterioration of mental well-being especially when the youth compare themselves to the exaggerated high living standards displayed by their peers online.

Furthermore, technology addiction can adversely affect the physical health of the youth. Sedentary behaviors associated with prolonged screen time contribute to a range of health problems, including obesity, disrupted sleep patterns, and musculoskeletal issues such as joint pains, neck and back pains, and osteoporosis, among others. The blue light emitted from screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, disrupting sleep quality and quantity, leading to fatigue and impaired cognitive function.

The social consequences of technology addiction are also noteworthy. Excessive use of technology can lead to social isolation, as individuals may prioritize online interactions over face-to-face relationships. This lack of real-world social skills can hinder personal and professional development, impacting the ability to form meaningful connections and collaborate effectively. The youth are consequently becoming digital social beings while losing physical touch with peers and family members.

Addressing the menace of Technology Addiction in Ghana

As technology continues to advance, it is crucial to address technology addiction proactively. Parents, educators, and policymakers play a pivotal role in promoting responsible technology use among the youth. Implementing guidelines for screen time, encouraging a healthy balance between online and offline activities, and fostering open communication about the potential risks of technology addiction are essential steps in mitigating its adverse effects.

Parents have a role in protecting their children against the adverse effects of technology addiction by activating child safety features in smartphones of their children, limiting the use of smartphones by their children, advising them against the adverse effects of continuous use of technology, etc. It is however more challenging to control the use of smartphones among the youth who are no longer under the direct supervision of their parents. However, I suggest policymakers start thinking about formulating policies that will ensure the responsible use of these technologies among the youth. Certain online platforms such as sites with adult content, dating sites, betting sites, gaming sites, etc. should be classified with restricted access to their content among the youth to discourage them from getting addicted to these services.

Additionally, raising awareness about the importance of digital well-being and providing resources for mental health support can help create a more informed and resilient youth population. Schools can incorporate digital literacy programs that teach students how to navigate the online world responsibly, distinguishing between productive and detrimental technology use.


In conclusion, while technology has brought about tremendous advancements and opportunities, the adverse effects of technology addiction on the youth cannot be ignored. Society must acknowledge these challenges and work collaboratively to create a healthy digital environment for the younger generation. By promoting responsible technology use and fostering a balanced approach to digital engagement, we can ensure that the youth harness the benefits of technology without compromising their well-being. The statistics of smartphone penetration in Ghana should be a cause for alarm as there are more youth with access to smartphones and the internet than the adult population.


 Elolo is the  Ag. Head, IT Services Unit of the Directorate of ICT, Ho Technical University | Member, IIPGH.

For comments, contact the author at +233244304540, or email [email protected]

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