Warning Signs of Teen Internet Addiction and Getting Help
Many parents are concerned with the amount of time their tweens and teens spend online.
Whether it’s communicating with friends through social media, texting or chatting — or they are playing video games, it all involves screen-time.
What is internet addiction?
Experts say that just because someone uses the internet a lot, or even obsessively, doesn’t mean they’re addicted.
The key signal of internet use disorder — more commonly called internet addiction — is if the uncontrolled use of the internet for gaming, gambling, pornography, social media or blogging starts to interfere with the teen’s daily, real-world life.
At this point, internet use becomes a problem because it may affect teens’ physical health and social skills. Most importantly, it may aggravate any underlying mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, which are sometimes the major contributing factors to why teens develop internet addiction.
It has been extremely challenging times for both parents and teens. With the increase of digital addiction, we have seen a shift in behavioral changes with young people such as:
- Failing in school
Especially if parents remove or threaten to take their devices away from the teen, the behavior escalates. Their online life is oxygen them.
It’s more beneficial to help them learn healthier digital habits and healthy relationship with their devices.
Signs of internet addiction in teens:
- A need to be on the internet that is more important than being with friends or engaging in other hobbies.
- A dip in grades for no other reason other than the desire to spend time on the internet, which prevents concentration on schoolwork.
- Anxiety when away from the internet.
- Ignoring school work, chores at home and personal hygiene in order to maximize time spent on the internet.
- Fatigue from staying up late or getting up early to be on the internet.
- Irritability, anger or emotional outbursts when questioned about the time spent online.
Treating internet addiction
Have you tried home contracts, even bargained with your teen in order to limit screen time and nothing worked?
It might be time to consider a more extensive digital detox plan so your teens can develop a healthy relationship with technology.
The fact is — the internet is not going away. It’s imperative they learn coping skills to be productive and emotionally secure with their social media. There are too many young people living for likes and followers. Many teens actually base their self-worth on the number of likes or followers they have acquired. Sadly, this is now the world they live in.
Some of the more common psychological treatments of Internet Addiction Disorder include:
- Individual, group, or family therapy
- Behavior modification
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Equine Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Recreation Therapy
Have you exhausted your local resources? Is your teen struggling with their obsession with their device? Is their physical and mental health suffering? It might be time to consider residential therapy.
Contact us for more information.