By Stephen C. Schultz
I recently received some interesting information about Gaming and Technology use from a good friend of mine, Chris Mulligan, LCSW. Chris is the founder of the Cyber Addiction Recovery Center located in Culver City, CA. He sent me a list of the Top 5 signs of technology addiction in teens.
Chris and I were able to spend a couple of nights in the back-country with a team of students enrolled at RedCliff Ascent. These students struggle with many issues and concerns but the common thread always seems to be technology. You can read about one of the students we met in this blog post I wrote soon after returning from the field.
Is there a way technology can be used in a healthy way? There are lots of opportunities for teens to excel and find career opportunities when technology is appropriately used and managed. It’s a fine line and one that parents must constantly be checking in with their teen about.
Here are the Top 5 Signs of Adolescent Technology Addiction
- Difficulty completing homework – You might be saying, “Yeah…and every other teenager in the world!” However, anytime there is a decrease in academic performance, it does suggest some further investigation and questions from parents would be appropriate.
- Reduced interaction with “off line” friends – If you notice that your son or daughter is spending less time with real friends, it may be time to take notice.
- Reduction in “off-line” hobbies and interests – Is your son or daughter spending all of their awake time multi-tasking between Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, chat room, YouTube or online gaming? Are they faltering in their other areas of talent such as sports, music, outdoor interests or reading.
- Emotional outbursts - Your son or daughter gets angry or irritable when time with technology is disrupted due to parental limits being set or structure around use being put in place.
- Depression – Your son or daughter becomes depressed or apathetic when gaming or online use is met by mandatory breaks from technology.
If you find yourself as a parent struggling to navigate the waters of teen technology use and constantly find yourself in conflict with your teen, this list may be helpful. Be sure to check out Chris's website that is highlighted above. It can give you a place to start…a way to formulate questions and some direction when having a conversation with your teenager.
If you have teens, how do you help them manage the technology use at an age appropriate level? Comments, personal experience and ideas are welcome!