We live in an era where technological capabilities are growing faster than ever before. This is great for entertainment and medical advances—but what about excessive amounts of technology in a child’s life?
As a parent, here’s what you should be looking out for to assess whether your child has an unhealthy obsession with technology.
Social Media Addiction
One of the most prominent uses of technology today comes in the form of social media. The most popular social media apps, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, can be very addictive to children and teens alike. This is because social media is an instant source of interaction, stimulation, and validation, and is easily accessible on any smart phone.
Social media addiction is marked by constant use of the phone, from the moment your child wakes up until they go to sleep at night. If your child is constantly posting “stories” on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, and seems irritable when they are unable to use their phone, this can point to severe social media addiction.
In extreme cases, it won’t simply be enough to take your child’s phone away—social media can count as a serious psychological addiction which should be treated properly with therapy or even hospitalization. Social media addiction treatment becoming relevant means more opportunities for teens to get treated throughout the country in partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs, recommended by doctors at Clear Recovery Center in California.
Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction is another serious problem that can develop in a child’s life. A majority of children play video games, especially young boys. Whether your child plays offline or online games with other people, video game addiction can be dangerous and affect your child’s ability to think critically, socialize, and do well in school.
According to the DSM-5, suggested symptoms of video game addiction include:
- The inability to quit playing, or play less
- Having problems at school or work
- Lying about how much video games the child plays
- Using gaming as an escape from your problems
- Thinking about playing games all or most of the time
- Being in a bad mood when the child can’t play video games
Though most studies about video game addictions are inconclusive and depend on the individual player, video games can increase aggression and be harmful to someone’s psyche. Not all video games are violent, but some like the Grand Theft Auto, God of War, or the Far Cry franchise, contain graphic violence and nudity. Monitoring the games your kids play can help curve addiction and poor behavior.
You shouldn’t confuse your child’s enthusiasm and love for video games with an addiction. Supporting their hobbies is always important, but when it begins to affect their well-being, that is when you should step in to monitor their video game intake.
Avoiding Technology Addiction Altogether
The best way to make sure your child isn’t addicted to technology is to provide them with other fun hobbies where they can interact with their family or more children their age. Signing them up for sports and music lessons, or encouraging them to join an extracurricular is a great way to keep them from constantly looking at their screens.
You should also be aware that children often use gaming as an escape. If you notice your child is spending too much time playing games, you should talk with them and try to understand their emotions. Often, a listening ear can help them, or perhaps a licensed children’s psychologist.
New technology can be a scary thing for many parents to introduce to their kids, but warning signs are there to help you gauge whether or not your child really has a problem. Always talk to your children and provide a healthy, helping environment to curve any addiction, social media, video games, or otherwise.