As the world becomes more digitally connected, technology addiction continues to become a real issue, especially among teens. Just last year, Pew Research Center released a report of its findings on teen technology usage. Research concluded that 92 percent of teens use the internet daily, which includes 24 percent that say they are online virtually constantly.
Is technology addiction really an addiction?
Let’s look at the definition of addiction. From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, addiction is “a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble).” From this definition, yes, technology addiction is very real. An example of this would be texting and driving; the need to check your phone is overwhelming your knowledge that it’s dangerous to do it and drive at the same time.
Though it is still being debated on whether to add “Internet/Technology Addiction” to DSM-V, the glaring symptoms don’t go away on their own. Teens are struggling, even if it’s not official, and it has something to do with overusing technology.
What a parent can do
Create No-Tech Zones: This could start off as something as simple as no technology during dinner. Then bump it up to no technology in the car. Just use good judgement. Don’t go overboard and try to make everywhere a tech-free zone, just start off small and move from there.
Talk to Your Teen: Try to engage your teen. Ask how they’re doing, what they’re interested in, and how they’re feeling. Try to be casual about it, not overbearing. Getting them talking is time that they’re not focused on their devices.
Be a Role Model: If you tell your teen their phone too much and then you spend a ton of time on your phone in front of them, what does it make them think? Hypocrite. In order to really drive home that they shouldn’t be so obsessed with their technology is practicing what you preach.
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