In the past, a child might receive a cell phone when they become a teenager. Today, younger kids are playing on their cell phones and interacting on social media. There’s a lot of joking going on about teens and their electronics. However, when does digital use become digital addiction?
The Fine Line Between Use and Abuse
When does digital use become digital addiction? If your teen’s use of digital technology becomes excessive, they might have crossed the line. Most importantly, it affects relationships, the ability to function in daily life, and overall happiness. You’ll notice that s/he doesn’t have many friends s/he spends time with.
At home, they always play on an electronic device. Social media participation means more than real life interactions. Besides that, online communications have the power to shift the teen’s mood from happy to sad, depressed, or agitated. For some, participation in the online world results in withdrawal from the real world.
When Does Digital Use Become Digital Addiction on a Brain Chemistry Level?
Addictions develop compulsive behaviours. Your teen becomes powerless to resist. Most importantly, the use of electronics causes the brain’s reward center to release dopamine. That’s the feel-good neurotransmitter.
Your teen wants more of it. Therefore, they continue to use digital technology more and more. Even if some of the interactions are negative, the mere fact of being online creates a dopamine release. Removal of digital devices results in withdrawal symptoms that can be on par with drug abuse.
Some experts recognize the presence of an internet gaming disorder. They suggest that the teen loses interest in other activities to the detriment of physical and emotional health. Because of the severity of the condition, it’s vital to get help.
Get Help Now
There’s help for teens who have an electronic addiction. Similarly, there’s support when your attempts at limiting screen time result in family problems. Work with experts in the field who routinely assist teens and their families. Modalities include:
In many cases, an addiction to digital devices and content presents as a dual diagnosis. There may be underlying conditions such as depression or anxiety. Dealing with them is vital to overcoming electronic addiction. Similarly, therapeutic support enables the teen to find a balance for using electronics in the future.
Therefore, when does digital use become digital addiction? In simplest terms, there’s a problem when it interferes with your family life and the teen’s academics. At the Venture Academy, caring therapists routinely work with families to overcome this problem. Call 866.762.2211 today to schedule an appointment.