The newest addiction to catch parents off guard is screen addiction.
More than ever before, kids are immersed in technology from a very young age, causing them to rely on it heavily.
Too much screen time is a big problem, but screen addiction is an even more serious issue.
Read on to learn more about screen addiction in kids and what to do about it.
What is Screen Addiction?
There’s no doubt that kids today are spending more time than ever using technology and staring at screens. Excessive screen time is linked to speech delays, poor social skills, and a lack of sleep, but screen addiction is about more than screen time. According to research from the University of Michigan, the larger concern is “whether screen use causes problems in other areas of life or has become an all-consuming activity.”
When kids use technology, it releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Dopamine is part of the reward system, telling your brain to repeat an action. Screen time alters the pleasure and reward cycle, which can lead to it becoming all-consuming and addictive for kids.
Signs of Screen Addiction in Kids
The University of Michigan outlines the following warning signs of screen media addiction:
- Difficult to control screen usage.
- Loss of interest in non-tech activities.
- Preoccupation with screens.
- The use of screens interferes with family activities, schoolwork, etc.
- Withdrawal and frustration when screen time is limited.
- The time your child wants to spend on screen media increases.
- Your child sneaks or deceives to use screens.
- Screen media is used as an escape or way to feel better after a bad day.
How to Prevent and Address Screen Addiction in Kids
- Create clear, consistent rules and routines.
- No phones/ screens during family dinner.
- A time limit on recreational screen use.
- Keeping screens out of the bedroom.
- Allow your child to participate in setting rules and boundaries and make sure they understand the reason.
- Get your child involved in non-screen activities they enjoy from a young age.
- Plan family activities and outings.
- Lead by example and show how to use screens responsibly.
Screen addiction in kids is a rising issue that is a big concern for parents. The immediate effects of screen addiction can disrupt the family in many ways, but long-term consequences like cyberbullying, body dysmorphia, depression, and anxiety are even more detrimental. Dealing with screen addiction is challenging, but important for the health and wellness of your entire family.