Technology addiction among children and teens is a real problem. Dr. Jeff Nalin, Founder of Paradigm Treatment Centers, took time to explain tech addiction to the hosts of Access Live.
Dr. Nalin described the teenage years as a time in which kids are trying to establish their identity and fit in with their peers. Trying to fit in has been a goal of teenagers throughout time. But until recent years, teens had little access to social media. Today, almost every teen has daily access.
When discussing statistics of teens using technology, Dr. Nalin stated that in his clinical practice, he is meeting teens that spend more than five or six hours on technology every day. The rise in online activity has created a potentially dangerous outlet where teens are portraying themselves in a false manner. Dr. Nalin expressed just how damaging this can be.
By creating a false persona online, teens are exaggerating positive aspects of themselves and minimizing reality. Trying to maintain or live up to their false persona can lead to mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. Teens can ultimately become addicted to technology. Being online has been shown to create a spike in the reward centers in the brain, making teens crave more of what makes them feel good. In this case, being online.
Warning Signs of Technology Addiction
There are warning signs, according to Dr. Nalin. Parents should be on the lookout for the following signs of a technology addiction:
- Teens that have phantom vibration syndrome
- Isolatation from friends and family
- Ignoring rules or laws of using technology
- Participation in online activities that are unsafe
What Parents Can Do to Help
If you suspect your teen has a technology addiction, Dr. Nalin advises communicating with teens. Help them develop an internal compass so they can distinguish between right and wrong online behaviors, and have the confidence to make the right decisions on their own. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health specialist for professional help.