How Does Technology Addiction Affect School Age Children?

How Does Technology Addiction Affect School Age Children?

Adolescents and teens live in a much different environment than what their parents grew up in.  When the pressures of schoolwork, peers, drugs, alcohol, or anything else become too much it is so easy to fall into some kind of escape today.  Whether that escape is video games, chat rooms, social media, virtual reality or just watching television- the opportunity and lure of screen-based escape is something unique to this generation.

Consider a typical day in the life of your school-age child. Maybe it goes like this: he or she checks their phone when they wake up, eats while browsing through TikTok, checks Instagram in the vehicle on the way to school, texts in between courses, participates in group video chats after school, and plays video games late into the night. Although it may seem like a lot, the majority of school-age children use technology continuously throughout the day. While utilizing technology is not always a negative thing, there is a line that can be drawn between it and more damaging behavior.

The Risks of Technology Dependence

The above graphic demonstrated how school-age children can fall into a dangerous cycle of technology overuse to meet basic needs including social connection and anxiety reduction.

Isolation is one of the main risks associated with technology addiction. Children who spend all of their time online don’t socialize or develop meaningful relationships with their classmates in the real world. Due to their obsession with social media or video games, people could lose interest in activities. Anxiety and depression may result from this sensation of alienation.

School-age children who are addicted to technology may also have a strong emotional bond with their gadgets. When they are cut off from the gadget, they could become enraged or act violently. Young people may turn to lying or sneaking about to prolong their use if they have been told to stay offline.

Teenagers who rely too heavily on technology may start to lose interest in their hobbies and sports. Additionally, parents could observe a detrimental impact on their child’s sleeping patterns, personal cleanliness, or study habits. As parents, our kids are counting on us to ensure we show them the path to independence and success.  When students head out the door for college or independent living, the opportunity to intervene has passed.

What Leads to a Dependence on Technology?

School-age children who are feeling lonely could turn to technology as a coping strategy. a strategy for “self-medicating” against such unfavorable emotions and ideas. This is comparable to how someone who abuses alcohol will do so in order to numb or numb those challenging emotions.

Teens receive a little dopamine boost from their social media interactions, which might help them think more positively. However, as soon as they get that surge, they start to want that sense of approval, which may lead to a problematic cycle. They spend more time online because they feel cut off. These relationships, however, are artificial and meaningless. They post again in an effort to recreate that sensation.

Addiction to Technology Treatment

Parents may encourage their children to have positive relationships with technology in the following ways:

Set boundaries: Establish a schedule or time limit for their gadget use. For instance, perhaps students have to do their schoolwork before they can use their iPad for leisure time. Your child has to be aware of the rules they must abide by.

Unplug: Plan time to disconnect from electronics. It’s difficult to get children to put their phones down when they have continual access to them. Adolescents and teens need to understand the benefits of living a non-technological existence. Perhaps it will be something as straightforward as a family supper with phones put aside. It serves as a reminder that connections made offline have a lot more clout than those made online.

Managing A Technology Addiction

Consider enrolling your child at Summerland at Camp Pocono Trails (CPT) for a technology reset and to learn time-tested strategies for managing technology use. We have sessions available from 2 weeks to 7 weeks. Our clinically based approach to computer addiction treatment provides a reset opportunity and practical guidance on managing screen time and electronics use responsibly.

Until then, discuss options with your child and have your child start recording their tech use. Buy them a journal and have them jot down when they use their gadgets for non-academic use.  Developing the skill of tracking electronic use will be helpful for managing their screen time independently after camp.

If you are ready to empower your child to take control of their screen-related habits, give us a call at 1-800-365-0556.