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 socialise 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 socialisation but can also lead to teen addiction to technology. If you suspect your teen is spending an unhealthy amount of time online and are considering getting help for technology addiction in Canada, call Venture Academy at 866.762.2211.
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 behaviour.
Is My Teen Addicted 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 behavioural addictions.
Technologies that teens can easily become addicted to include:
- Internet and social media
- Video and computer games
- Cellphones and tablets
- TV and movie streaming
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 behaviour online, such as internet porn, gambling or other activities
- Neglecting social relationships, school and/or work in favour of engaging in online activities
- Behavioural issues such as irritability when technology is not available
While you may not understand technology addiction yourself, it is important to understand that there may be an underlying cause, such as a potential chemical imbalance or problems socialising in the “real world.”
Understanding the Risks of Technology Addiction
While the phrase “technology addiction” sounds significantly less scary than drug or alcohol addiction, there are certain risks involved for teens using technology as an escape. Technology addiction can lead to sleep problems when teens stay up to late or early-morning hours online or gaming, and a sedentary lifestyle poses significant health risks as they age.
Another major concern with technology addiction in teens is that it can cause them to struggle in social interactions. Withdrawing from peers at school in favour of chatting with online friends or gaming can lead to isolation, an inability to socialise normally and loneliness or a sense of feeling left out or unwelcome even when that’s not the case, and their peers are trying to involve them more. Communicating so frequently with random people from all over the world can lead to a warped sense of relationships as well.
Perhaps the scariest concern is the fact that you really don’t know who your teen is up at all hours chatting with all the time. It could be anyone on the other side of that screen, perhaps even someone with bad intentions. Parents should do their best to be involved in their teens’ lives and monitor their online activities.
What Steps Should My Teen Take to Curb Technology Addiction?
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 behaviour becomes unmanageable, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Venture Academy specialises 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.
Discover Teen Technology Addiction Treatment in Canada at Venture Academy
If you need help battling teen addiction to technology, we have offices in Red Deer, Alberta and Barrie, Ontario. To begin the healing process, give us a call at 866.762.2211 or fill out our online contact form. Venture Academy can help.