Teens And Technology Addiction – Everything You Need To Know

Today most teens insist on sporting the latest gadgets, and their technospeak can leave you pulling at your hair. Alarmingly, this newfound love for screens and routers distracts some teens, instead of enabling their education. And teenage internet addiction can be a difficult problem to resolve.

So, if you are one of those concerned parents whose teenage daughter refuses to look up from her phone, or travel without her laptop, consider reading the post below. Here, we look at internet addiction and technology addiction in teens and how it affects teens.

Teens And Technology:

A technology addiction is the uncontrollable urge to use the Internet and other electronic devices to an extent that it impedes the daily life of an individual.

It is a collective term for internet addiction, excessive use of social media, video games, cyber porn, online gambling, and excessive use of smartphones and other gadgets. Teenage technology addiction is also referred to as Internet addiction disorder (IAD), Internet use disorder (IUD) or simply Internet addiction.

Like other addictions, a technology addict becomes tolerant to the time spent on the addictive behavior and needs to constantly increase the use to achieve the ‘high’ from the addiction [1].

Causes Of Technology Addiction In Teens:

A technology addiction can occur for a variety of reasons:

    • A history of mental health disorders can cause any type of addiction including technology and teenagers Internet addiction.
  • Low self esteem is always a cause for addictions. People who are shy or have poor self esteem may find it easy to connect with others on the Internet where anonymity is possible.
  • Lack of support at home or poor family environment can become a reason for technology addiction [2].

Symptoms Of Technology Addiction In Teens:

There are many symptoms that can indicate the presence of a internet technology addiction in teenagers.

  • The addict becomes tolerant to the addiction. He needs to give more and more time to the addictive behavior to satisfy his urges.
  • Like all addictions, the addict can experience withdrawal symptoms if he is away from technology or the Internet for a period of time.
  • The addict is ready to sacrifice personal relationships, career and family in favor of the addiction.
  • The addict uses technology or the Internet to deal with any type of negative feeling or depressive thoughts.
  • The addict constantly checks his social accounts, text messages and other things [3].

Effects Of Technology On Teenagers:

Technology and internet addiction in teenagers can have far reaching effects on the addict and his family. Teenagers with technology addiction can suffer from a variety of physical and psychological health problems.

General Effects :

  • Poor eating habits
  • Increased obesity
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Attention problems in school, low attention span
  • Lack of empathy
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor academic performance
  • Social phobia
  • Increased instances of cyberbullying
  • Increased instances of substance abuse
  • Growth issues
  • Unable to control impulse to use the Internet/technology
  • Feelings of happiness when using Internet or thinking about using the Internet [4]

Analyzing Technology Addiction In Teens:

Here is a detailed analysis of effects of teenagers addiction to technology.

Teenagers who spend a lot of their time on video games and other Internet activity are more susceptible to attention problems, loneliness, depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings of sadness. Excessive amount of screen time can also cause headaches and back pain in teens. These teens who have technology addiction can also suffer from violent tendencies, aggression and social isolation.

  • Teens who spend a lot of time playing video games can suffer from social phobia and poor academic performance. These teens are at increased risk of delinquent behavior. Teens addicted to ‘massively multiplayer online games’ (MMOGs) or ‘massively multiplayer online role-playing games’ (MMORPGs) can suffer from extreme social isolation. Teenagers who have an extreme addiction to MMORPGs can also suffer from seizures according to one study.
  • MMORPGs games like World of Warcraft (WoW) and Guild Wars are popular all over the world. Millions of people play this game every day. With new exciting levels and challenges every step of the play, these games can become addictive easily. Since MMORPGs are role-playing games with fantasy themes, it is a form of escapism when turned to an addiction.
  • Teens playing MMORPGs also expose themselves to identity theft on the Internet. Teens internet addiction such as video games may not pay as much attention to security protocols needed on the Internet and risk a host of cyber problems such as damage to their computers, falling prey to bullies and other nefarious characters on the Internet who prey on children and young adults.
  • Studies indicate that Internet is also a means for teens to fuel other addictions in the online domain. Your teenager can get addicted to online gambling or pornography. Access to information and data at the click of a key can also become an addiction and lead to information overload and excessive use of Internet.
  • Your teen’s technology addiction can have an impact on your entire family. It can disrupt routines of your other kids, make the home environment inharmonious and be stressful for all.

Treating Technology Addiction In Teens:

You can seek treatment for your teen’s technology addiction through therapy or with improved home dynamics. You can seek counseling sessions for your teenager. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is known to help teens with different types of addictions including that of technology and the Internet. CBT is a type of talk therapy useful for various psychological problems.

Preventing Technology Addiction In Teens:

If your teen is addicted to technology and the Internet, you can take several measures to help your child.

  • Set strict time limit for Internet use at home.
  • Restrict the use of video games, television and other gadgets.
  • Ask your kids to use only the family computer for all their online activities at home.
  • Supervise the time your kids spend on the Internet.
  • Sort through the video games your kids prefer and set restriction on their use or time or both.
  • Spend time with your child to understand the source of his addiction. It is important for parents to know what makes their children find solace on the Internet.
  • Talk to your teen’s teachers to understand problems at school, if any.
  • Create positive environment at home. Your teen could be spending excessive time on the Internet to escape the problems at home. This excessive time spend on technology can easily turn into an addiction.
  • Enforce no-Internet time at home or consequences for breaking rules about using technology at home.

Teen technology addiction, like all addictions, is an indication that your child needs your help. So, instead of simply banning technology from home, try to find the source of his addiction to drive away his addiction for good.

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