In today’s world, we thrive on technology. It’s no surprise that society relies on the internet and power of smart devices to be productive, improve life for present and future generations, and connect with others. However, while technology was innovated to make our lives easier, it has also developed several problems with its creation as well. However, the most prominent problem is the growing number of people who suffer from technology addiction – a disorder that is defined by the excessive and unhealthy use of technology that negatively impacts a person’s psychological and physical well-being and social skills.
Technology is not just limited to cell phones and computers. It also applies to video games, social media, and any other “gadget.” While technology addiction in itself may sound like a ludicrous notion, considering technology is so widely used, it is not any less serious than other addictions.
This problematic condition can affect any person with a device, regardless if they are a child, teenager, or adult. According to a study in December 2014, the estimated number of people addicted to technology and the internet was 420 million. In 2017, that number continued to skyrocket by the thousands.
Immediately, as parents, we begin to think about how this affects our children. Despite the existence of technology addiction, it can always be prevented with the right measures and knowledge of its symptoms.
Here’s what every parent needs to know about technology addiction:
Depression and anxiety can manifest or be triggered by it
The overuse of smart devices and social media’s effects on self-esteem are the main culprits in this case. First, staring at a screen for extended periods of time has been shown to increase levels of stress, depression, and anxiety in individuals, as well as disrupt sleep cycles and cause fatigue. Furthermore, social media is a platform that enables a user to constantly check updates, update their statuses, and upload pictures to show off the most glamorous or positive parts of their life. This invokes jealousy and even isolation if someone were to constantly compare another to their own lives, thus causing them to believe their life and experiences are inferior to the ones they see on social media. Additionally, a person can become obsessive with validating their life through the approval of “likes” they receive from their posts, which heavily diminishes their ability to develop authentic self-confidence from their own opinions. Pay attention to your child’s behavior and take the time to speak to them about their opinions on the world around them and themselves. There, you can notice if they tend to look for validation in others instead of themselves.
There is a dangerous amount of disconnect from reality that can be experienced
Technology addiction also causes an individual to prioritize their technology use over actually living a healthy life, socializing with others, and developing personal and intimate relationships. Before a person knows it, they have dedicated all of their time and energy into whatever appeared on a screen instead of genuinely experiencing life and growing from it – which results in a person having little to no ability to succeed in any circumstance. Alternatively, technology can also serve to be an outlet of distraction or unhealthy coping mechanism – which hinders the maturity a person needs when faced with stress or the inevitable and overwhelming emotions of life.
Enforcing restrictions on a child’s use of technology provides more benefit than harm
Since technology is so easily accessible, limiting a child’s use of it will be better for their health and well-being in the long run. By avoiding being glued to a screen majority of the time for mindless entertainment, or heightening anxiety over the “perfect world” created by social media standards, a child can spend their time doing more productive things like investing energy into hobbies and school or connecting with friends face-to-face instead of artificially.
The best way to prevent technology addiction is to understand its role in your life – as well as your child’s
Ask yourself what purpose does technology serve in your life and limit it only to those purposes – and pass this mindset onto children. If technology use extends beyond that, immediately put boundaries on it to not unnecessarily misuse it. If your child needs monitoring or help distinguishing how to properly use technology instead of abusing it, you can guide them into making better and mature decisions that will have a lasting positive impact on their lives. When the time comes, your children can pass down their knowledge of technology addiction from you to help their children avoid it altogether.