Believe it or not, there was a time in our recent history when technology did not rule the day. If you wanted to talk to someone on the telephone you had to stand in one place and talk on a phone that was attached to a cord. This limited your ability to just walk around talking. You certainly could not carry the phone around in your pocket and the phone could not leave the house. Computers were not something you would find in very many households either. The television was not available 24/7. Stations went off the air at a specific hour every evening. Instead of playing video games or texting with friends, kids actually went outside to play with one another and talk face to face. For substance abuse problems, call Legacy Freedom. We offer affordable outpatient alcohol and drug treatment In Columbus OH.
One might ask if we are referring to the dark ages or hundreds of years ago. Well, no. This was just 30 or so years ago. Technology has come along lightning quick! Today we cannot imagine not having a smart phone with us every waking hour of our day. Most of us do some type of our day to day work using a computer. Almost all of the appliances sold in today's market are run by a computer, everything from refrigerators to washers and dryers. Is this a good thing or are we raising our children to become too dependent on technology?
There are usually two kinds of kids, those that can manage their technology use on their own and those that need some guidance. You will find that there are children and teens who do not obsess about technology. They have other things to keep them busy such as hobbies or sports. Some are into music and will play in a band or practice a chosen instrument. It is not that they never use technology, they just use it in a more controlled way. A cellphone is just a way to reach family or friends for a brief conversation. A computer game is a fun activity that is used to relax, not disengage.
Other teens allow technology to totally devour their every waking moment. The phone becomes an extra appendage. They simply cannot put it down or turn it off. The danger for this type of teen is that they tend to be more isolated and anxious. Many of them will have poor people skills. They can have difficulty maintaining any kind of friendships. They will often have an unstable sense of self. For many of them, technology is just another way to avoid a frustrating world. It is often a way to escape a world that they have difficulty handling. Technology or a glowing screen allows them to shut out contact and communication, even with those who love them. The more connected they feel to technology, the less connected they will feel to the people around them. If your teenager needs alcohol and drug treatment In Columbus OH, call Legacy for help.
Many youth groups in civic and church organization do not allow technology during events. Often they will send around a basket to collect any cellphones or tablets. These are not returned until the end of the event. If your child or teen is attending a summer camp you may find this is the norm. No technology allowed! This is because they know something we all should know. If kids are connected to their technology, they are less connected with one another.
As parents we must all make ourselves hyper-aware of how much technology our children are using. If it has become your kid’s primary activity then you must evaluate it. Also, if your child or teen is spending hours a day gaming or surfing the net this is something you should question. Not hanging out with friends or participating in school activities is a huge warning to parents that you may have a budding tech addict in your home.
Today's kids are often allowed to spend unlimited hours each and every day tied to some form or another of technology. As early as the age of one year, tablets are put into the hands of babies to entertain them. Many school systems now issue laptops to students for their use during the school year. Parents purchase cellphones for their kids as young as age six. When children begin to fight for their "right" to use the technology and are determined to not put it away, that can be a sign that an addiction is forming.
As with any addiction, as a child's dependence on tech increases, their personal functioning decreases. Kids become much more impulsive, moody, and less engaged with what is happening around them. As their longing for more tech time grows, fighting with their parents can, and will, increase.
Technology addicted kids and teens are more likely to suffer with:
- Unstable moods
- Social isolation
- Sleep disorders
- Poor social skills
- Low self-esteem
- Impulse problems
The biggest problem with technology is simple. Unlike the televisions of times past, it doesn’t turn itself off. Setting a limit on unhealthy behaviors is an important part of good parenting. No parent ever wants to be seen as the "bad guy", but we are responsible for teaching our children well. Taking the role of the “guardian of technology” may make you unpopular with your kid, but it is key to preventing tech addiction tendencies. Legacy Freedom offers age appropriate alcohol and drug treatment In Columbus OH. Call now to learn more.
There are some good tips for enforcing good habits when it comes to technology:
- Blackouts- Make specific times when technology is to be used at home. When you add in a blackout time this will mean NO technology allowed for this time period. Parents will need to be included. Use this time for reading a book, cooking together, playing a board game, or simply conversing with one another.
- Spaces- Limit technology to one common area of the home. Somewhere like the living room where you can keep an eye on what is happening is a great place.
- Hours- Kids crave structure but they do resist it! Limit the time kids are allowed to play games, surf the net, or text with friends. A good guide is 30 minutes per day on school nights and maybe 2 hours a day on weekends.
You can keep an addiction from forming. Keep a close eye on your children's technology use. Watch for the warning signs listed above. Help your child find a good balance in their life with technology.
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Our team at Legacy Freedom of Columbus truly cares about you. We understand how difficult this can be for anyone who has struggled with addiction. At our center for alcohol and drug treatment In Columbus OH, we focus on the patient’s well-being, always working to determine what triggers use and what we can do to help. Put your trust in us and we’ll help you get on the right path to recovery.