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Internet Addiction

How Screen Time Can Impact Your Teen’s Mental Health

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 14, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Internet Addiction, Teen Help

Teens, Technology and Emotional Wellness

Help Your Teens UnSplashTeenScreentime-300x225 How Screen Time Can Impact Your Teen's Mental Health Teenagers today could probably be known as the “iPhone generation”. They never knew a world without technology at their fingertips, and they’ve grown up with screens and digital devices at every turn. So, smartphones, tablets, and computer screens are part of everyday life for most teenagers.

But, is that a good thing?

Parents and scientists alike have shown great interest in the effects of screen time on a teenager’s health. Some studies have argued that too much of it can cause physical health issues.  On the other hand, many teens use technology as a way to stay connected. Taking it away could impact their mental health.

So, what’s the answer? As a parent, that’s up to you. But, it’s important to know what screen time can really do to your teen – especially when it comes to their mental health.

Common Mental Health Concerns

It’s estimated that teenagers spend over seven hours looking at their phones each day. Whether they’re scrolling through Instagram, creating TikToks, or chatting on WhatsApp, it’s easy for teenagers to get lost in the social aspect of being on their phones. Of course, phones and tablets are also used for entertainment, like watching videos and playing games. The options are endless, which makes it easy to waste hours without really thinking about it.

That connection can lead to things like peer pressure, bullying, or even just the desire to “fit in” on different social media platforms. Your teen might feel as though they have to constantly be plugged in just to keep up with their friends.

Unfortunately, that can take a toll on their mental health. One study found that teens who spend at least three or four hours a day looking at a screen have an increased risk of depression, thoughts of self-harm, and even suicide. Another study found that young people who spend at least seven hours in front of a screen each day are more likely to officially be diagnosed with depression or anxiety. It also found that the less screen time a teen had, the better their overall wellbeing.

The mental health issues associated with too much screen time can lead to bigger problems. Depression and anxiety can cause teenagers to:

  • Become fatigued
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Isolating themselves
  • Losing interest in things they love
  • Have lower test scores

It can be difficult to understand teen depression. But, paying attention to these warning signs can alert you that something isn’t right. If you know that your teen spends most of their time in front of a screen, it won’t be hard to connect the dots and find out where their problems are stemming from.

Don’t Overlook the Physical Issues

Help Your Teens PexelSleepingTeen-300x200 How Screen Time Can Impact Your Teen's Mental Health In addition to mental health concerns, spending too much time in front of screens can lead to physical problems, too. For starters, starting at a screen all day can wreak havoc on your eyes. When a teenager spends too long looking at a screen, they can strain their eyes because the constant movement makes it harder to focus.

The light from the screen can also cause the eyes to become tired and lead to vision issues. Some of the common signs of vision problems include:

  • Squinting
  • Head tilting
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Rubbing their eyes
  • Headaches

In addition to damaging the eyes, staring at a digital device all day can cause back and neck problems. It can even lead to poor sleep quality, which could leave your teen feeling tired and make them more prone to getting sick or injured. While feelings of depression and anxiety are important to recognize, don’t ignore the physical problems your teen could have to deal with because of their phones or tablets, either.

How to Talk to Your Teen About Screen Time

As a parent of a teenager, you probably already know it’s not always easy to talk to them – especially about things they don’t want to give up. But, knowing how screen time can impact them, it’s important to set boundaries. That’s especially true if your teen is spending most of their time at home.

Create a schedule that works for everyone, allowing them to use their electronic devices during certain hours of the day and only for a set amount of time. You might get some pushback at first. But, creating a schedule is a great way to be fair. Eventually, your teen will look forward to those times when they have their devices and will know how to handle it when each time is over.

To promote less screen time, encourage your teen to try other things. What are their other interests and hobbies? Or, what’s something you think would love if they tried it? If they have a passion for art, encourage them to create their own art, like a comic book. Do they love music? Suggest an instrument.

Maybe they have gotten into running or strength training. Why not encourage a sport? When your teen really discovers their passion, they’ll be less enamored with their screens. As a result, they can be mentally and physically healthier, and you can take comfort in knowing they aren’t depending on a digital device to find contentment.

If you feel you have exhausted your local resources — and your teen needs more help, contact us about how residential might be able to benefit your family.

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Teen Internet Addiction: Developing Healthy Screen Time Habits

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 27, 2021  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Internet Addiction

Curbing Teen Internet Addiction

How your teen can maintain a healthy relationship with screens

Help Your Teens PexelTeenScreen-300x202 Teen Internet Addiction: Developing Healthy Screen Time Habits Teenagers these days are spending more time than ever before interacting with screens. Whether this is through their laptops, mobile phones, or tablets, much of their free time is spent in cyberspace, something that may be concerning for some parents.

Spending time engaged with a screen is not necessarily a bad thing, although most people will agree that there is definitely a point where it becomes too much. On top of this, most parents these days understand that interacting with social media is a part of modern life and is not necessarily a bad thing. That being said, parents still want their children to maintain a healthy relationship with screens and electronic devices. 

Set Some Limitations On Screen Time: Whether it be school, socializing, or extracurricular activities, teenagers spend a fair amount of time out of the house as it is. Still, parents can put a time limitation on their teens when they are at home.

Encourage Sports: An excellent way to get kids to put down mobile devices is to have them engaged in some form of sporting activity. Not only will this result in significantly less screen time, but sports have been known to be a healthy undertaking, both physically and socially, for some time.

Set A No Mobile Device Policy During Dinner: Several studies have shown that children who spend time eating dinner with their family tend to develop more positive social and family relationships as adults. However, if they are spending the majority of their time on their phones, then this shared dinner time will not have much of an impact on them. Parents should try and clarify that dinner time is for talking, sharing, and listening and is meant to keep family members updated on what’s going on in one another’s lives.

Encourage Socializing With Friends: Adolescent psychologists are noticing a trend amongst teens in which they have begun to socialize less and less in-person and more and more online. “Online socialization isn’t an issue, but can become one if it begins to take away from their face-to-face time with their friends,” writes Jeremy Bute, a journalist at Writemyx.com and 1day2write.com.

Turn Off WiFi At Night: If your child relies primarily on WiFi to use their mobile devices, it may be worth shutting the WiFi off at night time. Although this may work for some people, it may not be appropriate for other families, especially if the child has their own data plan.

Help Your Teens PexelDadOnline-300x204 Teen Internet Addiction: Developing Healthy Screen Time Habits Be A Role Model: It’s not just teens who are guilty of spending long periods of time on their mobile devices, adults are as well.

“Many people have jobs that require them to be ready to answer a call, message, or email at any moment. Sometimes, these responsibilities may cause them to spend hours on their phone or computer, something which may signal to teens that it’s ok or normal behavior,” writes Henry Stan, a health writer at Britstudent.com.

Hold Family Activity Times: Less and less families are putting time aside to enjoy one another’s company. In most cases, the only time families spend together is during dinner time, and even that is becoming less and less frequent. One of the best ways to increase communication between family members is by creating designated family activity times.

The activities can be spent outdoors hiking, kayaking, and biking or indoors playing board games. Regardless of what is chosen, it is recommended that these activities be designated a no mobile device time, which will help people stay more engaged and connected and will also give teens a break from their screens. Some parents have had success with stubborn teens by bringing them on hikes or outdoor adventures where cell phone signal is sparse or not available at all.

Don’t Replenish Data If They Go Over: If there is one new argument that has risen over the last decade between teens and parents it’s over data. Teens often feel like they don’t have enough, and parents are tired of their children using it all up before the month is over.

In many cases, parents end up topping up their kids data, which doesn’t teach them to conserve and encourages an unhealthy relationship with their mobile devices. If your child is constantly using more data than they have, consider being firm and telling them they don’t get anymore until the next cycle begins.

Read why removing your teens’ devices isn’t always the answer.

Contributor: George J. Newton is a business development manager at Academicbrits.com and Originwritings.com. He has been married for ten years, perfecting the art of the apology throughout. He also writes for Nextcoursework.com.

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Why Removing Your Teens’ Devices Doesn’t Always Work

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 23, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Internet Addiction, Internet Safety

Do you threaten to remove your teen’s devices?

Parents are struggling with implementing restrictions on technology

Help Your Teens BigstockMomTeenonCell-300x199 Why Removing Your Teens' Devices Doesn't Always Work Most families have implemented boundaries and rules that their kids and teens have to follow when it comes to their devices. When they cross these lines, there will be consequences such as revoking their phone and internet privileges.

As many of us know, this can be devastating to young people. A survey from the Pew Research Center last year revealed that 56 percent of teens feel anxious, lonely or upset when they don’t have their cell phones.

There’s no app for parenting

There’s no app for parenting teens online today—yet according to a 2018 PEW Research Center survey, 95 percent of teenagers have access to a smartphone while almost half, 45 percent, claim they are online constantly.  That’s up significantly from the last survey in 2015 when it was 24 percent that were on almost constantly.

It’s instinct to remove the gadget that they love as a form of punishment, but is it solving the problem? Many teens are resourceful today as they turn to burner phones when their parents enforce the family rules. This can be incredibly frustrating and parents are at their wit’s end.

Parents struggle with digital boundaries

We see many articles on tips for cyber safety, security and online bullying. We also can read a lot about what you should do when you witness abuse online or believe you are a victim of a sextortion or a predator.

What I haven’t read a lot about is what you can do if your teen abuses their internet or cell phone privileges. No matter where our kids and teens are gravitating to online, parenting doesn’t change.

Like growing up offline, it’s never without challenges. However, today it’s compounded with their digital life being as important as their real one. As a matter of fact, most teen’s believe that their online life is their life—period.

Defining digital abuse

Many parents understand that offline communications are key to cyber safety for their children (of all ages). In these chats, it’s important to continually discuss appropriate online behavior as well as what is not acceptable:

  • Posting inappropriate comments, pictures or videos
  • Participating in unsavory chat rooms
  • Purchasing items online without a parent’s permission
  • Over-sharing personal information
  • Cyberbullying, harassing or teasing others online
  • Sending mean text messages or sexting
  • Sending abusive tweets
  • Posting or texting anything with an intent to harm or hurt someone

It’s important to realize that burner phones are not only being used as a way to escape the loss of their own device, but teens are using these phones to secretly post on social media without adults knowing.

“The youngsters don’t only use the burners when their personal device is taken away. Some use them to post on social-media profiles their parents don’t know about—the so-called Finsta, or ‘fake Instagram,’ account,” says Diana Graber, author of Raising Humans In A Digital World in the WSJ.

Managing digital slip-ups

Is there an alternative to removing the devices? In my opinion, as well as that of Digital Media Literacy teacher, Diana Graber, absolutely! It’s all about digital parenting and education. It’s about teaching our kids about the upsides and downsides of technology—opening those lines of communication, probably more often than you are doing now.

If you discover your teen has crossed the family’s online boundaries, it is time to sit down and analyze what happened with your teenager. Hear them out first, then give them the reasons why there will be consequences—explain clearly how they abused their privilege. It is important they understand their missteps so they can learn from them.

Family Safety Evangelist Toni Birdsong wrote an essay, What Should the Consequences Be for a Teens’ Digital Slip-Up? Here are a few of my favorites I want to share:

  • Be clear on the “why.” Explain the risks associated with the behavior and why it’s not allowed. If the topic is sexting then explain the privacy risk of trusting another person as well as the legal risks of possessing or sending sexual photos.
  • Be careful not to shame. The behavior does not define the child. In talking, stay focused on the behavior or action without making general, personal judgments.
  • Write an essay. It sounds old school, but essay writing in this world of impulse clicking has worked in our house. Parenting is all about teachable moments, so use this opportunity to educate. Have your child write a paper on the dangers of the behavior. Be it bullying, sexting, suggestive texting, racism, profanity, or gossip—there are huge lessons to be learned through researching and writing. Remember many tweens and teens are simply naïve to the power of the technology they hold and they simply don’t know what they don’t know.

Being an educated parent helps you to have safer teens online and offline.

How to know if your teen is using a burner phone, read more.

Read how to help your teen develop healthy screen time habits.

Order Raising Humans In A Digital World today – be an educated digital parent!

Contact us for more information.

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RESET: Summer Digital Detox Program for Teens

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

RESET SUMMER CAMP

Serious Help for Technology Addiction

Help Your Teens BigStockTeensOnline-300x189 RESET: Summer Digital Detox Program for Teens 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

Click here.

RESET also offers kid sessions (8-12 year-old) at their Santa Barbara location 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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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

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.

Help Your Teens BigStockTeensOnline-300x189 iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood

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.

Help Your Teens Igen-198x300 iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood 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

Internet Addiction: Is Your Teen Attached to their Smartphone?

Help Your Teens BigStockTeensOnline-300x189 Internet Addiction: The Teen Generation

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.

Help Your Teens SmartphoneAddiction Internet Addiction: The Teen Generation 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).

Contact us if you need help with your teen’s internet addiction after exhausting your local resources.

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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

Monitoring verses Mentoring Your Teen’s Online Behavior

Help Your Teens SueScheffBlog.com-The-Internet-Isnt-All-Bad-Teens-Without-it-Seen-as-Educationally-Disadvantaged-Pic-1-300x200 Internet Addiction and Teenagers: Shutting Down Their Devices Today 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.

Help Your Teens CyberbullyingTeens-300x247 Internet Addiction and Teenagers: Shutting Down Their Devices This 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 Parenting Teens

Adopted Teens (RAD) and Internet Addiction

Help Your Teens InternetAddiction6-300x226 Internet Addiction and Adopted Teens (RAD)

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.

Help Your Teens InternetAddiction_5-300x221 Internet Addiction and Adopted Teens (RAD) Teenagers 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, Parenting Teens

Teen Internet Addiction

Help Your Teens cellphonerules-300x152 Teens and Internet Addiction

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.

Help Your Teens OnlineGaming-300x201 Teens and Internet Addiction Types 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.

Help Your Teens InternetAddiction_5 Teens and Internet Addiction Signs 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.

Help Your Teens TeenParentChat Teens and Internet Addiction What 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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