Teens today have continuous access to the internet through home computers, tablets, and smartphones. This access offers many benefits. Teens can access information on virtually any topic and master new skills. They can also socialize with others around the world, play games, or listen to music and watch videos. Some young people make a very sizable income through shows on YouTube and Facebook. This level of access has many benefits for learning and socialization but can also lead to teen addiction to technology.
What is Teen Addiction to Technology?
An addiction can be defined as compulsively engaging in an activity despite negative consequences. Teens addicted to technology may stop engaging with friends and family. Technology addiction may also lead to poor performance at school or work. Electronic addiction treatment can help young adults who struggle with controlling their internet and technology use.
Teen technology addiction falls into a group of addictions referred to as behavioral addictions. Behavioral addictions include disorders such as gambling, sex, and kleptomania. Some of the symptoms of technology addiction include:
- Using technology to escape problems
- Using technology to such an extent that your teen forgoes sleep, exercise, and other healthy activities
- Indulging in risky behavior online such as internet porn, gambling or other activities
- Neglecting social relationships, school and/or work in favor of engaging in online activities
- Behavioral issues such as irritability when technology is not available
Can Anyone be Affected by Technology Addiction?
Although technology addiction can occur at any age, teenagers appear to be especially susceptible, possibly because of the developmental state of their brains. Technology appears to affect the limbic system of the brain in a manner similar to drugs or alcohol.
The result is a rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine, producing a sense of euphoria. In teen technology addiction, this sense of euphoria becomes associated with these online activities. Technology addiction is often accompanied by an online gaming addiction or an addiction to social media. These activities have the same effects on the brain which can eventually lead to addictive behavior.
What Steps Should My Teen Take?
If you believe that your teenager is addicted to technology, the first step is to have a heartfelt discussion with your child. Warn them about your concerns and seek their input. Monitor their use of technology and impose reasonable restrictions, such as limiting their online time or imposing a no technology at the dinner table rule. There are also tools available from Google and Apple, to help families monitor and control screen time.
If these measures prove ineffective, or your child’s behavior becomes unmanageable, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Venture Academy specializes in young adult behavioural treatment, as well as substance abuse treatment and treatment for some mental health disorders.
We begin with a 30-day assessment to determine the extent of technology addiction. During this assessment period, a multi-disciplinary team will work with your child to develop a treatment plan, while providing a safe and secure environment for your child. Many teens report immediate improvement and for parents, it may provide a respite from the stresses of a teen in crisis.
If you need help battling teen addiction to technology, we have offices in Kelowna, British Columbia Red Deer, Alberta and Barrie, Ontario. To begin the healing process, give us a call at 866.762.2211.