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The 2022 cell phone usage statistics state that our teens are addicted to their screens. They engage in obsessive tech-related behavior, sleep too little, and suffer from FOMO when they’re not plugged in. This ‘fomo’ actually has a medical term called ‘nomophobia‘ which means ‘no mobile phone phobia.’ What is the parents’ role in all this? How can they help their kids avoid mental health disorders due to technology addictions?

The best anyone can do to safeguard teens from addiction to technology is to educate themselves on how technology works and how it influences users. Parents must also learn how problematic internet use can become because they may not be very aware of how addicting it can be. This can help them choose the appropriate control to check and limit screen time. We must also educate teens about how social media affects their health and make them aware of internationally validated outcomes of addiction.

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One way for parents to help prevent teen technology addiction is to limit their screen time and control access to digital devices.

It’s very important for parents to realize that overuse of technology can lead to teen technology addiction and mental health issues in teens. As a premier Teen mental health treatment program in Los Angeles, we help create actionable plans on an individual basis for each adolescent. We also make sure to educate parents about technology addiction, including what it is and how to treat it at home.

What is Tech Addiction?

Tech addiction has many names—Internet addiction, behavioral addiction, internet gaming disorder—and it is actual addiction like drug addiction or alcohol addiction which can lead to mental health disorders impacting normal adolescent behavior. Excessive technology use is when time spent on mobile devices, smartphones, or other devices exceeds more than 12 hours.

However, “Technology Addiction” was classified as a severe mental health condition by WHO (World Health Organization) in 2018. It will soon be added by the APA (American Psychiatric Association). 

Tech Dependence and Technology Withdrawal Symptoms

Technology dependency can manifest through nomophobia (no mobile phone phobia) impulsivity, depression, substance abuse, and drinking problems. If not treated properly, these issues can continue throughout adolescence and into adult life.

Neuropsychologist Matthew Cruger, a director at the Child Mind Institute, says that the term addiction doesn’t accurately describe children’s behavior. “With addiction, your brain epxerience chemical that changes the way we respond, leading us to rely for it for our level of functioning

Symptoms Of Technology Withdrawal

Withdrawal from internet addiction, or technology use in general, can lead to several negative side effects, including depression and psychosis, but that does not mean that all technology use is bad. It just means that you should try to limit your technology usage as much as possible.

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The length of time a person is addicted to the internet can determine if they have withdrawal symptoms. Does your teenager ever complain that things are not ‘real’ because they have been seen or done on the web? Do teens look for excuses to use the computer, cell phone,, or gaming apparatus for long periods?

The other common symptoms of technology withdrawal are:

  • Increased young adult anxiety
  • Moodiness or moody Teenager
  • Increase Negative Thoughts
  • Depression
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • The excessive desire to play video games or indulge in online shopping.
  • Psychosis in definite cases
  • Difficulty in maintaining peer relations
  • Social isolation
  • Low self-esteem

Prevalence of Technology Addiction in Teen- Internet addiction disorder

Teenagers spend 40+ hours a week scrolling through their mobile devices, and 62% use social media every day. Studies have shown that girls are more likely to become addicted to social networking sites like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat than boys (68% vs. 57%). We offer Teen internet addiction treatment as part of our teen mental health treatment program and teen IOP programs.

How Technology Addiction Impacts the Teen Brain

The use of technology is not the same as using drugs or consuming alcohol, but the human brain processes both addictions similarly. Getting various likes and comments on a picture can release a rush of the dopamine chemical in your brain – very similar to using drugs or if your child is drinking alcohol. To cure these addictions Key Transitions is here to help you with the best addiction treatment program for troubled teens.

Addiction to mobile devices can lead to a chemical imbalance in the brain, making it harder for teens to focus and retain information because they are constantly being distracted.

All teens, especially teens diagnosed with ADHD and depression would benefit from putting away their phones, tablets, and gaming systems even just an hour early every day. Slowly having less screen time helps with the ability to decompress from the day. Continuous exposure to digital devices can be harmful to a child’s eyes too. It can lead to a Digital Eyestrain disorder called CVS – Computer Vision Syndrome. 

Depression and Technology Dependence

A renowned pediatrician has concluded that dependence on technology leads to increased rates of anxiety and depression.

Recovery From Technology Addiction is Possible

The first step in recovering from technology addiction is to recognize there is a problem and understand the triggers that push the excessive use of the internet. The next step is to fully understand the extent of the smartphone usage that is occurring. Key Transitions has several different therapy types and plans built specifically for each individual’s needs. Some of the therapy types we practice are listed below and we also offer individual teen therapy, group teen therapy, and family therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT or Talk Therapy is a kind of structured psychotherapy. This treatment helps patients to figure out negative and inappropriate thoughts. Over time, individuals can develop positive coping skills to handle the challenges healthily and effectively.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

MET is a form of counseling therapy that is specially created to help young adults suffering from negative behavioral disorders. The main focus of this treatment is to clear the doubts that block achieving the goal and frequently motivate the internal changes.

Managing Gaming For Teens

  1. Motivate teenagers to be involved in various sports or free-time activities to maintain good teenager mental health and help prevent social media addictions.
  2. Mandatory turn off all digital devices and screens at meals and at least one hour before bedtime.
  3. Always research games before letting your teen play. Is it appropriate for their age? Make sure to look at the game rating, and read reviews online. You’ll most likely find parental groups doing the same.
  4. Spending time with your teens to learn about their days, and talk together.
  5. Turn off TVs and other digital devices when not in use. Don’t leave screens ON if you are busy with other work, such as mealtime. This will set a good example in front of teens.

Tips for Managing Smartphones Among teens

  1. Ask the teen to leave their phone aside for one day in a week.
  2. There are so many apps for every problem and ease our difficulties. Few can help us to control our time on devices. Hence, use such apps that can support control on a smartphone.

6 Tips To Manage Technology At Night

  1. Parents should practice a schedule that can manage teen lifestyles and prevent addiction.
  2. Turn off all the push notifications that are possible.
  3. Delete all the distracting apps from the teen’s home screen or device.
  4. Keep the device away from your bed to break the cellphone habit.
  5. Use a smart speaker that can give you relaxation from a digital device for some time.
  6. Trying to turn on the grayscale of your phone might be helpful.

Experts Point out technology protective factors that can break the addiction and teach teens self-control. With a positive attitude, positive self-esteem, and good parenting skills risk we can minimize the negative consequences and reduce the impact of risk factors that may lead to teen internet addiction.

Learn more about our teen internet addiction treatment.

Key Transitions is here to help you

Teen internet addiction is a severe problem that requires treatment. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our programs that help adolescents with a wide range of mental health and addiction issues.

FAQ

Why are teens so addicted to the internet?
The Internet and social media can provide knowledge and information with a few clicks or scrolls. But its excessive usage can lead to addiction, FOMO, and depression. More and more teens are becoming addicted to their phones because of this.

How can i tell if my teen is addicted to electronics?
Nowadays, teenagers will be on their phones almost always because it’s how they communicate and ‘stay in touch with one another. If your teen is always on their phone and has difficulty putting it down or feels sad regularly after surfing social media – your teen might be slightly addicted to technology.

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