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Internet Addiction

Teen Help With Sleep Deprivation

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 06, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Teen Depression, Teen Help

How to Help Your Sleep Deprived Teen Sleep Better

A healthy sleep cycle is essential for everyone, especially for teenagers because of their hectic routines and social life. Most sleep specialists generally recommend 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep for teenagers. But a lot of studies show that teenagers are not getting their required sleep hours. 

According to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll, 43% of parents complain that their children are sleep deprived. Many of these parents think it’s mainly due to electronics. Children nowadays are glued to their phones all day and night and are completely oblivious to the outside world. Such an attitude is causing major sleep deprivation.

Constant sleep deprivation is having a huge impact on the lives of teenagers in terms of health risk and academics. If you’re a parent with a sleep deprived teen, here are some tips you can follow to help your child sleep better: 

1. Make their bed comfortable

The best way to help your sleep deprived teen sleep better is by giving them the right bedding to sleep on. People sleep better when they have a cozy mattress to sleep on and a comfortable pillow underneath their head.

When people sleep on a comfortable bed, their quality of sleep instantly increases. Everyone has a different choice of pillows they could use. Some prefer flat pancake pillows, others might prefer super puffy clouds for a peaceful slumber. If you haven’t been able to find the right pillow for your teen yet, you can take this quiz by Pillow Insider which gives you suggestions based on your preferred sleeping position and firmness level.

Changing the bedding is a much easier way to help your teen sleep better instead of constantly bickering over their phone that they might never get rid of. 

2. Make sure their bedroom is a quiet place

As parents you would do every little thing that you can to make your teen get a healthy sleep. So another tip that we have for you is to ensure that your teen’s bedroom is a quiet place with no disruptions. 

Before you put your child to sleep you need to make sure that their computers, laptops or iPads are off and there are absolutely no gadgets in their hands. Listening to music before sleeping also doesn’t help at all so remember to take away their headphones before they sleep.

Your child’s bedroom should be the single most quiet and comfortable spot in the house. Teens can sleep better if there is no noise distracting them again and again and no light leaking from the window. 

3. Help your child become stress-free before going to bed

One of the leading causes behind sleep deprivation is the restlessness due to stress and anxiety. It’s not just about teenagers, nobody can sleep peacefully if they aren’t feeling light headed. 

Today’s teenagers go through a lot of stress, anxiety and depression and most of it is contributed by their high schools. Before your child goes to bed, talk to them and see if they’re okay. You can make all the effort by giving them a comfortable bedding and making their bedroom quiet and peaceful but they can’t sleep if their mind is distracted. 

You can ask your child to meditate, do yoga, or talk it out with you to release the stress. Going to bed with stress and anxiety will decrease their quality of sleep and as parents you need to make their worries go away so they can sleep peacefully. 

4. Give them snacks that would help in sleeping better

According to many nutritionists and dieticians, having high carb snacks before bedtime does the trick. Eating high carb snacks makes you feel warm and sleepy. If your child is having trouble sleeping, you can try these snacks and put them on their bedside.

Also while giving them such snacks make sure that your child doesn’t consume any caffeinated drink before bedtime. Caffeine gives instant energy that will deprive your child of sleepiness and keep him awake all night. Caffeine could be easily available in your child’s favourite bedtime snack or drink.

Make sure that your child monitors his/her caffeine intake. If they want a drink before bedtime, suggest them to drink herbal tea or chamomile tea. These drinks are healthy as well as beneficial for a peaceful sleep. 

5. Discourage daytime naps

Many teenagers have the habit of sleeping in the afternoon after they get back from school or college feeling exhausted. As much as it’s important for them to take a quick power nap, it could also disrupt their night’s sleep.

It is highly advised that if your child is having trouble sleeping at night, make sure they don’t take any afternoon naps because if they go to bed tired at night then chances are that they will fall asleep instantly. Give them some energy drink in the afternoon to keep them awake so they can sleep peacefully at night.

6. Make sure that your child doesn’t procrastinate on school tasks

Apart from getting glued to phones at night, another reason causing your teen’s sleep deprivation could be school tasks. When your child gets back from school, make sure that he/she completes their homework and projects that are due.

It’s only natural that they might want to catch up on some tv or play on their phones but it’s imperative that they complete their work on time so they don’t have to stay up all night. This will also prevent them from having an afternoon nap and they can easily fall asleep at night without any deadlines looming over their head. 

7. Consult a sleep specialist

Even if after trying everything your child is sleep deprived and is facing health problems due to it, it might be beneficial to consult a sleep specialist or a health provider. Your child might be going through something that he/she has trouble opening up about so a consultant could be the best option here.

You can follow these tips to help your child sleep peacefully. These are some of the most effective remedies that will work like a charm. And as concerned parents, you should do anything to help your sleep deprived teen sleep better. 

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Do you think your teen is struggling with depression, sadness? Have you exhausted your local resources? Contact Us to learn more about if residential therapy might be able to help you.

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RESET: Summer Digital Detox Program for Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 28, 2020  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Featured Article, Mental Health, Summer Camps, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

RESET SUMMER CAMP

Serious Help for Technology Addiction

Looking for a summer digital detox program that is both affordable and effective?

Welcome to Reset.

Digital Addiction

Today we are facing a time when teen depression is on the rise. Young people are struggling with anxiety, stress and overwhelmed by peer pressure. They are isolating themselves – completely immersed in their screens without considering their emotional or physical health.

Symptoms:

-An obsession with being online
-Frustration, anxiety, and irritability when not able to get online
-Abandoning friends or hobbies in order to stay digitally connected
-Continuing to spend time online even after negative repercussions (such as failing grades, deteriorating relationships, and even health issues)

Getting Help

Reset Summer Camp offers a fully immersive, clinical program hosted on a university campus, providing a fun-filled summer camp atmosphere. Participants are able to detox from their screen addiction and learn how to self-regulate, as they participate in individual and group therapy.

Life Skills

The Life Skills program cultivates responsibility and builds self-confidence, so campers will be prepared to handle their real-world obligations. Everything from healthy meal-prep and laundry skills to basic vehicle upkeep and a healthy sleep schedule.

Therapeutic Setting

Their staff includes experienced youth-development professionals, clinical interns, registered nurses, and private-practice mental health PhDs who work daily with those suffering from problematic use of technology, including gaming addiction and other unhealthy screen-time habits.

With 4-weeks of intensive therapeutic intervention, a full Family Workshop weekend and 12-weeks of individual follow-up with every camper, Reset Summer Camp stands alone as the leader in summer digital detox programs.

Aftercare

Reset Summer Camp isn’t done when your teen goes home. What sets them apart from others is their therapeutic after-care. Counselors will be available to help you, your teen and your family find a healthy relationship at home with technology.

Dates and rates

Santa Barbara, CA: Teens (13-17) July 5-August 2nd
New Brunswick, Canada: Teens (13-17) July 19 – August 15th
Harpers Ferry, WV: Young adults (18-26) fall of 2020, call for more information
All 4-week programs are $7850.00.
Please contact RESET for financing options.

RESET also offers kid sessions (8-12 year-old) at their Santa Barbara location at $4250.00 for two weeks.

Contact RESET at 1-775-771-3171 to learn more or email at info@resetsummercamp.com and visit them on Facebook.

Apply now.

As featured on the Today Show:

P.U.R.E. is not compensated by RESET Summer Camp.

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Screen Time During COVID-19: Raising Humans In A Digital World

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 28, 2020  /   Posted in Cyberbullying, Digital Parenting, Featured Book, Internet Addiction, Mental Health, Online Repuation, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

“Is Internet Addiction Really A Thing?”

YES!

Building a healthy relationship with devices starts at home.

Author Diana Graber is helping parents teach their teens and kids build a healthy relationship with technology. It’s not about removing their devices – it’s about finding the right balance in a digital world.

Raising Humans In A Digital World is your answer.

Screen Time During COVID-19

Suddenly families across the globe are finding themselves at home with kids who are staring at screens more than ever. For many, this is a necessity. Technology is their only access to schoolwork and to their peers. While families may have had firm screen time rules in place pre-pandemic, these have largely gone out the window. And that’s okay.

Still, it is important for parents to help their kids take a much-needed break from their screens now and then, and this is easiest to do if you provide them with alternatives to their screens. Especially if it’s an alternative they came up with themselves.

How We Do This In School

Order on Amazon

During normal times, I teach an in-school course called Cyber Civics to middle school students. It’s a series of digital literacy lessons that cover the whole spectrum of online life. One of the topics we explore is “screen time.” Here is a key lesson from our curriculum that I also share in my book “Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology,” that you might find useful at this time:

Make an Offline Bucket List

Many teens and kids today find their most pleasurable experiences online, and that’s too bad because the real world offers lots of pleasurable experiences too. Dr. David Greenfield, an internationally-recognized authority on the treatment of Internet and Technology Addictions, helps his patients reconnect with offline life’s pleasures by having them write down one hundred things they can do without a screen. Even though many find this activity challenging initially, once they get going it becomes easier, and their lists become road maps, full of real-time activities to choose from when the urge to plug in hits.

This is a great activity for kids to do too. The goal is for them to make a list they can refer to when you suggest they take a break from technology and they inevitably tell you they have nothing to do. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Get a large piece of blank white paper. Write “My Offline Bucket List” at the top. Challenge your kids to come up with at least 50 non-digital they’d love to do. For example, they could paint, bake a cake, learn to skateboard, or camp in the backyard (These activities will vary according to each child’s age and interests.) They could write a letter to Grandma, make dinner with you, or walk the dog. The point is for them to come up with at least 50 ideas and write them down.
  1. Post this list in a prominent place in your house. Encourage your children to refer to it when they’ve been online too long. You might make your own list to refer to as well, and use it when you find yourself scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook feed. The point is to give your children fun, non-screen alternatives that they come up with themselves. Your kids may even find these new offline experiences so much fun that they end up craving a good hike over making another TikTok video. Who knows?

We often forget that this generation of kids simply do not know a world without digital devices to fill in every moment of boredom. Help them by letting them discover the joys of the offline world, before we all forget what they are.

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Contributor: Diana Graber, author of Raising Humans In A Digital World

Are you interested in summer digital detox camps? Learn more here.

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iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 25, 2019  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Featured Book, Internet Addiction, Internet Safety, Mental Health, Sexting, Teen Depression, Teen Help

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood

Cell phone are here to stay. The smartphone generation.

By Cathie Ericson of Your Teen Magazine

Many of us parents, given the option, would snap our fingers and make smartphones—and all their complications—go away forever. But smartphones are here to stay, and your teen is now part of the smartphone generation. As you may already be discovering, there’s an inevitability about teens and phones, so we might as well face that reality head-on.

What do we worry about? Too much screen time, too little face-to-face socializing, and the potential pitfalls of social media. As smartphones become ubiquitous, teens have all the pressure associated with always being “on”—but potentially without the maturity to handle it. And that’s troubling.

Smartphone Generation

As reported in Jean Twenge’s new book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, rates of teen depression have skyrocketed—a phenomenon the author links to smartphones. Boys’ depressive symptoms increased by 21 percent from 2012 to 2015, while girls’ increased by 50 percent. Research supports a connection between this shift and smartphone usage, finding that teens who report more screen time are more likely to be unhappy, compared to teens who spend less time than average with their screen.

Given these findings, why do we even allow our teens to have phones? In many cases, it’s almost as though we have no choice. Pew Research reports that three-quarters of teens have a smartphone, and a whopping 92 percent of them say they go online every day.

Your teens are likely to be among these connected teens—so, rather than “just say no,” how can parents set wise limits?

Easy to Love, Hard to Put Down: Setting Limits on Phone Use

Does it seem like your teen is constantly clicking and scrolling? To be fair, we might be, too. A survey from Common Sense Media found that 78 percent of teens reported checking their phone at least hourly, but 69 percent of parents said the same.

“I like to remind parents that they are the models,” says Dodgen-Magee. “If you don’t think they should use their device at night, then you shouldn’t bring yours to bed either.”

Which brings up one of the most important limits that should be set: Encourage good evening habits so the phone doesn’t interrupt their sleep. “If you only do one thing, keep the phone out of their room at night,” says one expert.

Of course, you know they are going to say it’s their alarm clock. Remind them of this novel invention—an actual clock, which you can find for about $10, says Twenge. “Even if the phone is off, it’s still too tempting to have it at the ready while they’re trying to wind down, or if they wake up in the middle of the night.”

Beyond that, the key is to make sure they are balancing their screen time with other activities. Twenge has found a direct correlation between negative teen mental health and the number of hours they spend on their devices, particularly on social media. While more research needs to be done on phones and mental health to determine exactly why these things are correlated, Twenge recommends parents err on the side of caution and look into one of the numerous apps like Freedom or Kidslox that allow you to set daily limits.

However, you probably shouldn’t outright take the phone as a punishment, as they often need it for homework or updates (like when the next soccer practice is). “It’s more productive to have a conversation about when they should unplug and help them develop a healthy balance.”

Order iGen by Jean Twenge today on Amazon.

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Internet Addiction: The Teen Generation

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 09, 2018  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Featured Article, Internet Addiction, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help

Internet Addiction: Is Your Teen Attached to their Smartphone?

According to scholars and psychologist, the smartphone devices are causing a heist of the apparent preoccupation, not only in adults but also in the kids. Especially when the matter of the availability of the internet over the smartphones is concerned, the hike certainly makes it clear that the extensive users of this technology are addicted to it.

A comparison between the addicting drugs and the smartphone was drawn by a psychologist analyzing that alcohol makes a person addict of it as the consumption of the first sip makes it more enchanting in the next. Similarly, the smartphone usage has been analyzed with the study of over 1,500 users, majorly including teens, that the initial usage raises the urge for the next usage.

Extensible Teens:

Common Sense Media (CSM) surveyed more than 1,200 people including parents and teens which resulted that 50% of the teens accept that they are addicted to the smartphones; while around 60% parents say that their children are addicted to their devices.

The smartphones sale comparison could definitely tell that 50% of the sale of smartphones has grown up in the present year since 2013.

Availability of internet, social media networks, attractive games, handy apps and vast data storage capability has raised the bar of the smartphone usage and so it the mercury of the smartphone obsession rising.

Smartphone Addiction:

Presently in the world, some states argue that extensive smartphone usage is a disorder and is an addiction but some of the developed states including United States have no view over the smartphone addiction. They take it as just an extensive use, not an addiction as they don’t have any solid base to determine it as a disorder.

Going through some general examples, the roads and streets are the best examples in telling that how much the teens are addicted of the smartphones. A number of accidents happen every day in routine, caused by the teens, as they were busy in using their smartphone and smashed their car into the others or a pole or a pedestrian.

Consequences of Smartphone Addiction:

Almost 80% teens are surveyed who at least check their phone every hour, amid 70 – 72% of teens is found responding to the SMS and the instant feeds instantly. Parents stay worried for their children and the smartphone distraction has increased the ratio of worry in parents. Parents find their children:

  • Distracted from studies because of the excessive smartphone use
  • Getting physically and biologically weak because of lack of outdoor sports
  • Becoming irritating and itchy because of lack of actual social life with friends
  • Paying less attention to the family sit downs for the night meal

These situations are particularly an alarm for the parents that ring the bell of danger that their child is getting to a highly distracted venture by paying much heed to their corky device instead of the actual requirements of living.

Preliminary Measures:

Some essential preliminary steps are required on the part of the parents to ensure safety and prosperity of their children. It’s initially quite hard for the parents to properly analyze in what ways and how much time is their child giving to his or her smartphone.

Precisely the direct questionnaire would certainly sound like a direct assault to the children which could bring up any of the unexpected results upon parents. Or if the parents inspect the smartphones of their children or restrict them directly to use it, could create a wave of defiance in the homes.

The most preferable and highly recommended solution, and one of handpicks of the experts, are the spy apps. They help the parents to be with their children when they are using their smartphones, virtually.

Contributor:  Angela Smith fills in as tech and digital parenting expert. She is managing technical content at cell phone spy software, listen live phone calls, and monitor social instant messaging logs.

(Please note, apps should never replace offline parenting. Your communication with your child is crucial in helping them make better online decisions when you’re not there. Experts have also agreed that your child should know if you have installed these apps. Breaking down a trust factor with your child is never a good idea unless there is a good reason or you fear your child is in danger).

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Is Your Teenager A Screenager?

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 19, 2018  /   Posted in Cyberbullying, Digital Parenting, Featured Article, Internet Addiction, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Internet Addiction

Is your teenager constantly glaring at their screen? Are they part of the screenager generation?

Did you know that according to new studies teens are frustrated by their own obsession with their smartphones?

How can parents help them find their digital balance?

Smartphone addiction has become an increasing concern for many parents, especially with the start of school just around the corner, and many students getting smartphones. A 2016 survey from Common Sense Media  found that half of teenagers felt addicted to their devices, and 78 percent checked their devices at least hourly.

Seventy-two percent of teens felt pressured to respond immediately to texts, notifications and social media messaging. A Pew Research report found that 73 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds had their own smartphones or had access to one, and 24 percent said they were online “almost constantly.”

So what can parents do to help prevent their teenagers from becoming screenagers? AT&T offers these tips:

  1. Start with a contract. The first step is to set boundaries, and what better way to do this than to put the rules in writing. Draw up a Cell Phone Contract, or a Family Agreement, with your young user. Family agreements can include rules about when and how the phone may be used, and detail consequences for breaking the rules. You can find numerous examples of cell phone contracts or family agreements online. Almost all of them focus on the same key items, such as sharing passwords with parents, limiting use of the device to certain times of the day and in certain places, promising not to use the device for inappropriate photos or bullying, and so on.
  2. Set limits and monitor use. Consider creating “no phone zones” in your home, like the dining room table, and making sure your teen is putting the phone away at certain points of the day. Also, take advantage of parental controls to set limits on your child’s smartphone use, and monitor it. For example, AT&T Smart Limits allows parents to block unwanted calls and texts from up to 30 numbers; set monthly limits on texts and mobile purchases; and restrict texting, data usage and outbound calling during specified times of the day. There are also monitoring services that let you view your child’s texts, call logs, phone location and more.
    And if you have a teen driver, use an app that curbs your teen’s temptation to use their phone behind the wheel. The free AT&T DriveMode app silences incoming alerts and automatically replies to text messages, letting the send know you are driving. DriveMode also sends a text message to a parent if the app is turned off.
  3. Create daily and weekly offline time. Most teens admit to having FOMO, or fear of missing out, on something, and the need to respond quickly when they receive messages and notifications. That constant potential feedback loop can lead to obsessive behaviors that disturb the course of daily activities. Researchers say creating daily and weekly offline time as part of the family routine can be helpful.
  4. Be cyber aware. Being constantly connected brings increased risk of theft, fraud and abuse. Educate your young user on internet safety tips. Stress the importance of never sharing their personal or family information online and never engaging with strangers online. The AT&T Cyber Aware website at www.att.com/cyberaware provides tips to help you and your child avoid falling victim to scammers.
  5. Be a role model. As parents, we should consider our smartphone habits as well. The 2015 Pew survey found that 46 percent of American adults  believed they could not live without their smartphones. If we expect our kids to limit their time on their smartphones, then we too need to practice what we preach.


Courtesy of AT&T. Contract by The Exhausted Mom.
Disclosure: P.U.R.E. is not compensated by AT&T and doesn’t endorse products or services. We provide informational and educational resources for parents of young people today.

If you believe your teen is struggling with addiction that is now interfering with their life, Internet or otherwise, and have exhausted your local resources, please contact us.

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Internet Addiction and Teenagers: Shutting Down Their Devices

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 11, 2015  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

SueScheffBlog.com - The Internet Isnt All Bad Teens Without it Seen as Educationally Disadvantaged Pic 1Today it’s more than drug addiction parents are concerned about, we have the digital addiction. It has been rampant to the point that there are teen help programs designed to detox teens from their devices.

When should you remove your teenager from the Internet?

The Internet is an amazing source of information, news and culture. But the Internet also has a dark side that isn’t always appropriate for all ages. Perhaps that is why parents have stepped in to monitor how their children are exposed to the Internet. It’s a tough job, but it’s a responsibility that a parent needs to keep up with – both online and offline.

10 Reasons Why Parents Consider Shutting Down Their Teen’s Digital Connection:

  1. Pornography: The Internet has plenty of valuable and useful information. It also has a great deal of highly offensive pornographic material that is not suitable for children. Parents can exercise their discretion in monitoring their children’s intake of pornography and have a responsibility to do so. Without their careful monitoring, a child can be exposed to things that they have no business seeing.
  2. Hateful Content: The freedom of expression the Internet allows can expose some truly hateful opinions. Teens should not be exposed to this sort of hateful content, and it’s important that parents step in to prevent teens, especially children,  from hearing overtly hateful messages.
  3. Religious Reasons: The Internet is the ultimate open forum where people can express a dizzying array of views on any subject. For those parents who have deeply held religious beliefs, exposing their children to discriminatory messages may not be tolerated. This might be a good reason to step in and take the Internet away from a kid who is snooping around in all the wrong places.
  4. They Should be Exercising: Whatever happened to playing outside? Many children spend too much time on the Internet and not enough time exercising. To help combat the epidemic of obesity, parents should step in and be sure that their kids are getting enough exercise. One great way to do this is to take away their kids’ favorite distraction: the Internet.
  5. Punishment: Now that kids rely on the Internet for everything, taking away a child’s access to the Internet can be an effective punishment. Threatening to take away Internet or Internet access may keep even the most unruly kids on their best behavior.
  6. Age: There is no official age limit on who can access the Internet, but parents have a good idea of who is too young to surf the web and should enforce those common sense ideas. If a kid is barely in Kindergarten, they may not need an iPhone or Internet access. Parents should use their discretion when it comes to children and the Internet.
  7. Excess Usage: If a kid is using the Internet way too much, a parent should step in and take it away. Why? Because many negative behaviors can be correlated with over dependence on the Internet at a young age, such as anti-social behavior, obesity and poor academic performance. Parents should closely monitor how long their kids spend on the net and take the appropriate steps to ensure that they aren’t surfing too much.
  8. Money Reasons: High speed Internet access can be expensive. In these tough economic times, sacrifices must be made. For some families, the expensive Internet access their kids enjoy may be on the chopping block. When facing a dismal financial reality, the Internet is a luxury that not every kid or family will be able to afford.
  9. Security: The Internet can be a dangerous place. From identity theft to sexual predators, kids are at risk when they surf the web. A responsible parent will know when to step in and ensure that their children are surfing safely. If they can’t surf safely, kids shouldn’t surf at all.
  10. Life Lessons: Going without something you enjoy is an important life lesson. You may not always get your way, and life isn’t always instantaneously gratifying. By taking away the ultimate source of instant gratification, for whatever reason, kids can learn a valuable life lesson that you can’t always get what you want.

CyberbullyingTeensThis is about finding balance in your teen’s life. Keep in mind you want to build trust in your child’s online and offline relationship. If they are being harassed (cyberbullied) online, you want them to feel comfortable coming to you without the fear of having their life-line, (the Internet), removed from them.

Shutting down devices is about health and wellness for your family, as well as if they are misusing it.  However if they are a victim, be sure you are compassionate and non-judgmental. They need you. Your offline parenting about online life should be in place to help them with these times.

If you find the Internet addiction has taken control of their life, you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us for information on teen help residential programs that may help you.

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Internet Addiction and Adopted Teens (RAD)

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 20, 2015  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

InternetAddiction6

Adopted Teens (RAD) and Internet Addiction

Are there more risks with Internet addiction for teens that are struggling with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

The internet is an incredible resource for information and entertainment, but it does have drawbacks. Besides creating an avenue for dangerous child predators to flourish, the internet has also caused a recent and misunderstood sickness to sweep across the nation. This dangerous new disease is known as Teenage Internet Addiction.

The idea of “internet addiction” began in the 1990’s to explain an unhealthy reliance on the internet that parents noticed their teens developing. Since then, the internet’s popularity explosion and use of sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr have ushered in a new age of teenage internet addiction.

Parent advocates realize the danger of teenage internet addiction, and adopted teens are highly susceptible because they often experience Reactive Attachment Disorder, or RAD. RAD develops when a teen is unable to attach trust and development in interpersonal relationships. RAD is caused by the confusion and pain of a child’s separation from their birth mother. Even a child adopted early in life can experience dramatic RAD separation anxiety in their teenage years.

It’s been found that internet addiction increases feelings of anti-social tendencies and the inability to interact with others, much like RAD. Adoptive teens struggle to overcome RAD increases their vulnerability to internet addiction.

InternetAddiction_5Teenagers should not be fearful of the internet, it is an attractive and exciting way to gather information and communicate with others, but parents must be aware of their adopted teen’s internet usage levels. Parents should never spy on their kids; instead they should focus on maintaining open lines of communication, much like they would when dealing with Primal Wound or other adopted teen issues. Parents should ask their kids about their internet habits and ask to look at their Facebook (if their not friends with them online) or other profile sites. Parent should never look at teenage pages or pursue web history behind teen’s backs (unless you believe they are in danger, or suspect something is wrong); this can alienate your teenager even more, amplifying feelings of anxiety or RAD.

There are some signs of teenage addiction associated with internet use that parents should be especially aware of. Some of these warning signs are very closely related to teenage depression, another condition that many adopted teens face.

When exploring the possibility of internet addiction, check if your adopted teen experiences powerful euphoric feelings while on the internet and extreme anxiety while away from it. Also check if the teen has intense cravings for the internet, always wanting to return to it. Other warning sings include adopted teens lying about their internet usage and withdrawing from past activities in favor of increased internet usage. Internet addiction’s physical effects include dry eyes, drastic changes in eating habits, increased headache or backaches from focusing on the screen, as well as sleeping problems.

Placing the family computer in an easily monitored area is a good way to prevent internet misuse. Never ban the internet, but work on a time schedule that will be fair for both you and your adopted teen. Also work to encourage non internet activity, which means forcing other family members to reduce internet usage while encouraging outdoor activities.

Adopted teens are at a high risk for internet addiction because of their problems with RAD, but if parents foster healthy family communication practices, do an honest job of trying to understand their teenagers internet needs, and let their teens know they are ready to help them if they need it, than internet addiction and its side effects can be prevented.

If you feel your teen is in need of help, and you have exhausted all your local resources, please contact us for information on residential therapy. This has been helpful for many other families.

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Teens and Internet Addiction

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 15, 2015  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

The screens have become today’s latest addiction for many youth and I dare say many adults too.

Studies concur that grownups have a very hard-time putting their phones away.  This means that parents leading by example, especially when it comes to technology, has to be a priority.

The Internet is a very interesting place. But the reality is, time spent online can become addictive. It can be easy to get caught up in exploring sites or playing online games – so much so that this online time interferes with real life. This seems to be a particular problem with teens.

Let’s explore what parents need to know about Internet addiction, including the people who are most at risk and the signs to look for. Then we will discuss some ways parents can help prevent those behaviors.

OnlineGamingTypes of Internet Addiction

Internet addiction can include a wide variety of behaviors or problems. While some people become addicted to playing computer games, others are addicted to cyber-relationships or online gambling. Like other addiction problems, Internet addictions can vary in intensity. But no addiction is considered healthy.

People at Risk

Certain people/personality types are more at risk for developing Internet addictions. For example, individuals suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression are likely to use the Internet as a distraction or a way to escape from negative feelings of worry, fear, and sadness. But continued time online can lead to isolation, which can cause stress and loneliness. It’s a vicious cycle.

People who are addicted to one thing often have two or more addictions. For instance, a person with a gambling addiction may also be addicted to the Internet. Internet addiction is prevalent among those who have little or no social support. They usually find that establishing relationships on social networking sites and forums is a fun and easy way to build confidence.

Individuals who are socially inactive or less mobile than they once were may become addicted to the Internet. After all, this is a way to ‘connect’ with people. And, of course, unhappy teenagers who are trying to figure out where they fit into this world may find the answer in cyberspace. Online friends may become more ‘real’ than the ones in the real world.

InternetAddiction_5Signs and Symptoms to Look For

Because people are different, their addictions are different. You could have a room filled with people addicted to the Internet, but each one would have slightly different signs and symptoms. The number one sign of an Internet-addicted teen is the simple fact that he or she is spending as much time as possible online. In many instances, the teen may be making attempts to hide the sites he or she visits.

The list below gives you a more precise starting point of things to look for.

  • Minutes turn into hours – There is never enough time to spend online. Anger sets in when Internet time is interrupted. This leaves little time for anything else. Chores are left undone, school grades may go down, and social life suffers.
  • Used as an outlet – The Internet becomes an emotional outlet. When there are feelings of happiness, sadness, fear, grief, excitement, etc., the Internet is used as the outlet – the place to share or release those feelings.
  • Losing touch – Because so much time is spent online, there is little time left to share with friends, family, and others. Isolation sets in.
  • On the defense – Discussions about Internet use make the individual uncomfortable. He/she becomes defensive about being online so much.

TeenParentChatWhat Parents Can Do

Parents always want the best for their children. The good news is, there are ways to help a teen who is headed toward Internet addiction. Start by setting some very clearly defined rules about computer use, and move all computers and other gadgets with computer access to a community area of the home. This makes it easier to monitor computer time and usage.  Set boundaries with smartphone usage, including removing the phone at bedtime.

Parents should also have tech-time-out times, especially for meals.  This includes parents. Everyone needs to turn it off! Role-modeling is a priority.

Have an open discussion about Internet addiction and the possible underlying problems that put people at risk. You might learn that your teen is feeling stressed or anxious or that he/she is having other problems you didn’t know about.

Sometimes just getting a teen involved in something fun like a hobby, club, or sport can help convince him/her that it is possible to spend too much time on the Internet. But be prepared to get any help your teen may need. In some instances, that might mean seeking professional counseling.

Has your child struggled with Internet addiction?  If you have exhausted your local resources or your teen is refusing to get help, you may want to consider residential therapy for digital detox.  Please contact us for more information.

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