Children addicted to technology

What is Screen Addiction?

How do you tell if your child is addicted to screens? There are tell-tale warning signs. They shouldn’t be ignored.

Break screen addiction in young people.


There are ways to manage the dependence on technology and restore peace and harmony in your home, and regain happier, healthier kids.

Happy family with technology


Check out the many resources available to assist in managing your children’s use of technology, and find great alternatives.

Worried that your kids are addicted to screens?

Screen addiction starts early.
Kids are surrounded by technology from the moment they are born.

You are not alone! Vast numbers of parents, teachers and health professionals are concerned about how technology use is affecting kids social skills, motivation, attention, emotional regulation, and neurological functioning. Given the easy access to multiple modes of media (TV, iPads, computers, phones, etc.), electronics have become the “go to” in quiet moments. Screen time has also become the primary source of information and entertainment for children.

Today’s young people and children have become the ‘crash test dummies’ for technology obsession. Previous generations have not had access to the 24/7, always on, technology that is available today. Hence there there is no longitudinal data available about the effects of this technology. We are starting to see increasing information about posture, eyesight and obesity problems related to technology use, but there are many more problems emerging.  Data from the last ten years however, does show worrying trends.

For younger children, screen time has been associated with shortened attention spans and delayed verbal development. For older kids screen time often leads to greater risk of depression, anxiety, social isolation, cyberbullying and decreased academic achievement. The overall conclusion is that screen technology use is having negative effects on both the mental and physical health of children.

The screen time problem is getting worse with each generation as screen time increases daily while outdoor play decreases. In the past decade, screen time has increased by more than one hour per day for children aged 2 to 5 and by two hours for teens ages 14-17. Most worrisome is that screen time includes both screen media (e.g., television) as well as screen devices like cell phones, tablets and computers.

Knowledge is power, and this site will inform you of the effects of screen addiction, enabling you to make informed decisions about your children’s use of devices.


Are you looking for answers?

Every family is different, as are all young people and children. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to breaking an addiction to devices. Depending on the age of your child and their level of overuse/addiction, different strategies are required. A good start is to do a family audit of technology usage for each member of the family. Once you have completed this you will be better placed to implement some rules and strategies.

When looking for answers to your child or young person’s use of devices, look at your usage also. Do you constantly have your phone in your hand? Do you fall into the vortex of technology when you go online to do one task, and get distracted by social media, games or online shopping? Children will model your behaviours and it is difficult to impose technology limitations if you are constantly ‘on line’. Also while on devices you are not present for your children. The dangers of ‘distracted parenting’ are real.

Try turning off all devices when spending quality time with your family. This includes mobile phones and computers. The constant notifications or buzzes are an addictive trigger for people of all ages. Screen dependency is not age specific. The accessibility of screen devices (mobile phones, tablets, TV’s etc) coupled with the overuse of screen media is affecting teenagers and adults just as much as it is our younger children.

Screen technology has advanced so quickly that parents often need to find strategies to help their children and teenagers integrate screen time into their lives while protecting them from screen dependency. Having ‘screen free zones’ in the home is a good way of helping your child or teenager feel comfortable to remove themselves from screen time, especially if they are feeling anxious, over stimulated or overwhelmed.

Children feel ignored by their parents use of technology.
Are you a digitally distracted parent? From a very young age children will observe and model your behaviours.

Invaluable Resources for children addicted to screens

How to cure screen addiction

Addiction to screens and excessive screen time is less a diagnosis than a description of risk factors associated with negative screen outcomes. Screen addiction is more about quality than quantity and so doctors now talk about high-quality screen time versus low-quality screen time.

Once you have identified that your child does have a problem with technology, and read about some of the strategies you can use to address this problem, you will find a great selection of resources you can use to assist you here. These resources are specifically aimed at different age groups and ability levels. All are designed to appeal to children’s natural curiosity and foster a love of learning. It is far easier to modify children’s online behaviours when they are young, so adopting some of these resources early is wise.

There are also many books that offer in-depth research and advice on screen addiction, and are a valuable resource to have available.
You will also find links to intervention programs specifically targeted to teens and young adults that need concentrated programs to enable digital-detox. These programs are offered in Australia and the U.S. and have been shown to have success with many addicted young people.


See how other families are managing screen addiction

You are not alone in your worry and frustration over your children’s use of technology. Most parents I speak to express the same concerns – their children are addicted to screens. Be it computers, iPads, phones or TV, kids are drawn into these devices. For this reason I have included case studies from two families, and will be adding more in the weeks to come. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to this problem, and so it’s useful to see what other parents are doing.

For some families, no screens at all is the best solution. In my experience though, most schools now set homework that includes an online element, whether it be accessing a school portal or researching.Therefore this solution is probably not for everyone.

Other families agree on family contracts (see Family Tech Audit) to limit screen time. This works well for some families, as long as all members abide by the conditions set in place.

If your older child has serious problems that are technology related, you may want to consider an intervention.

Whatever way you choose to address the technology problem, we’d love to hear about it. Please contact us so that we may share your story with other parents looking for answers.

A life without screen addiction for children.

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