Today’s teens are constantly using some type of technology. It could be a computer, smartphone, electronic tablet and more. As technology has evolved and its use has significantly grown over the past decade, so has the possibility of technology addiction.

Technology addiction is a general ‘umbrella term’ covering a wide range of technology addictions. More specific technology addictions may be a smartphone, video gaming or online pornography addiction.

Symptoms of Teen Technology Addiction

It may not always be easy to identify when the use of technology and being “plugged in” actually moves into the clinical condition of an actual addiction. However, when the use of technology begins interfering with a teenagers family life, social life, education or behavior, the use may be actually turning into an addiction.

Asking some questions within your own mind may answer whether it is possible that your teen is actually becoming addicted and may need some professional help.

Do they have anxiety when they are unable to use technology?

Are they spending increasing amounts of time using technology?

Do they need to use technology to make them happy?

Are they using technology to escape other problems in their life?

Are they constantly checking their phones and feel like they must immediately answer?

Do they become angry or depressed when they do not get to use their devices?

Answering these questions with a ‘yes’ may give you a general idea that your teen may be beginning to have or already have a technology addiction.

Physical Signs

This form of addiction may also cause physical changes including weight gain, headaches, wrist and hand pain, dry eyes and visual changes.

The hours spent in front of display screens, instead of interacting socially or participating in physical activities can create these physical issues.

How Does Technology Addiction Occur?

teen technology addictionExperts believe it starts when technology starts to fulfill a teenager’s need for interaction, stimulation as well as changing their environment. When someone experiences stress, it is easy to go into a cyber world where they’re in control, can socialize and more. Technology begins to fill their basic needs and becomes addictive. With constant use, the activities involving technology begin to stimulate the pleasure center of the brain similar to an illegal substance. It can enable a user to experience the same rewards as a person using drugs or alcohol. The internet and video games constantly promote use and enjoyment to those who are vulnerable to becoming addicts.

Other Complications

A study showed when a group of teens spent a significant amount of time hyper-texting, they were over 39 percent more likely to use cigarettes and consume alcohol. Research demonstrates when these same students spend more hours each day than their peers using social media; they are at an increased risk for depression as well as suicide.

Effects On Brain

Studies have also shown how the brain scans of young people suffering from teen technology addiction are similar to individuals who have addictions to cocaine, alcohol and other substances. There is concern about the ability of an addicted person to have their brain connect with attention, decision-making, as well as emotional processing. The research shows individuals hooked on technology experience similar damage as other types of addiction.

Treatment for Teen Technology Addiction

A trained therapist will try to understand a teen and their addiction cycle. They will try to determine what emotional triggers are causing the problem. A course of treatment for technology addiction will be designed based on a number of factors including the teen’s age, the seriousness of the compulsive behavior as well as any other disorders that may be present.

It’s important for parents to know that recovery is very possible. A treatment center like Centered Health that offers teen-only mental health assistance, as well as inpatient behavioral health and addiction services, can be quite helpful in these situations.