Signs of Internet Addiction in Children

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Families are more busy and it is sometimes easier to give a child a tablet, laptop or smartphone to keep them occupied and entertained. Computers and internet have surpassed television as the main source of entertainment for children which can lead to harmful, detrimental effects on psychosocial development and perhaps even lead to addiction.

 

Signs

When children become used to screen time for entertainment on a regular basis, it can quickly become a habit which can lead to addiction. Some of the signs technology addiction is happening may include children who:

 

  • become irritable or depressed without internet
  • cannot spend time away from being online without getting moody
  • concentration suffers on daily activities
  • withdrawal from activities usually found pleasurable, sociable or enjoyable
  • lying about time spent online
  • school work and household chores get ignored
  • video games are preferable to social interaction or even eating and sleeping
  • require some online time or television to fall asleep
  • may become violent or aggressive when television or internet are taken away

 

Health

Obesity is an epidemic among young children which has grown over the past several years as the increase of technology use has also increased. Children do not have to leave the house to be entertained which increases periods of inactivity. Like adults, children can experience sleep deprivation as a result of too much screen time and have trouble falling asleep at night when phones or computers are used right before bed. Reduced interaction with friends and family can lead to social isolation and disengagement from activities necessary for psychosocial and motor development.

 

Teens and Screens

Young adults are just as susceptible as anyone to over use of screen time. It is not uncommon to find teens engaging more on social media platforms, texting or instant messaging than spending time in person with friends socializing. Brain changes can occur in teenagers and young children when connections between the cells and inside the brain which govern emotional processing and control start to shift with increased screen time. Some of these changes have been noticed in the brains of persons addicted to drugs such as cocaine, heroin and other substances.

 

Treatment

Use of the internet can be monitored to ensure only a certain amount of hours are spent online versus in ‘real life.’ Things such as internet free days or challenges can entice young people to try going without mobile phones or devices for a period of time to break the cycle. Encouraging other activities such as meeting up with friends, seeing a movie, reading a book or going outside are great ways to break young people away from internet activities. However, with addiction, this may be challenging to do without the right support.

 

Hired Power knows getting a young person help for addiction can feel overwhelming. We offer intervention support and more to help you begin the journey. We’re here to help. Call today at 800-910-9299.