Did you know that the majority of all Americans (a whopping 96%) own at least one cellphone of some kind? With the rise of mobile phone ownership, smartphone usage, and the internet, it is no surprise that mobile and screen addictions have also skyrocketed. 

Both children and adults alike have been plagued with technology addictions that can have serious negative consequences in everyday life if they are not addressed as quickly as possible. Knowing the signs of mobile or screen addiction can help you to better identify potential problems among your children, or even yourself.

Why Screen and Technology Addictions Are on the Rise

Technology addictions, especially among children, are consistently skyrocketing at an unprecedented rate. With the advent of social media, online multiplayer games, and affordable smartphones available to just about everyone, children today are more glued to screens than ever. Additionally, screen and technology addictions are also on the rise due to the unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, forcing many students to readjust to distance and virtual learning from home. When videos, music, news, and even education are all located on the internet, it can become increasingly difficult to find the proper balance when it comes to tech usage in the home.

Identify and Prevent Screen and Cell Phone Addiction among Children

What Constitutes Screen or Mobile Addictions?

Screen and mobile addictions may vary from each individual, as many individuals use screens and technology in various ways and for different purposes. When you are familiar with some of the most common mental, emotional, and physical signs of technology addiction, it is much easier to determine whether or not you or even your children have been affected.

Mental and Emotional Signs of a Technology Addiction

Although addictions are not always obvious, there are a few mental and emotional signs that are likely to manifest when an adult or child has become dependent on or addicted to screens, mobile phones, and any form of technology, such as:

  • Insomnia and the inability to get a good night’s rest
  • Increased irritability (short fuses and unpredictable mood swings)
  • Increased anxiety and symptoms of depression 
  • Preoccupation with getting to another screen or using technology

Physical Signs and Symptoms of a Technology Addiction

In addition to emotional and mental signs, technology addiction can also cause physical signs to manifest, such as:

  • Fidgeting without purpose
  • Inability to sit still for extended periods of time, especially when away from a phone or screen
  • Nausea and vomiting (typically from extreme anxiety or stress due to a withdrawal from screens)
  • Panic attacks
  • Extreme fatigue

Identifying a Mobile or Screen Addiction In Your Own Children

It is never easy to admit that you or your child has an addiction, especially when it comes to the use of smartphones and technology, staples that have become an everyday part of society. However, knowing how to identify and spot a technology addiction in your children can help you to intervene with proper recourse. Some telltale signs that your child may have an addiction to smartphones and technology as a whole include:

  • Your child has a preoccupation with playing games or using screens
  • Your children become increasingly angry, agitated, or irritated when they are unable to play with tech or when they do not have access to a screen
  • You notice that your child is anxious about when they will have time to access their screens, games, or tech
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Increased laziness
  • Loss of interest in traditional social gatherings, events, and even personal hobbies
  • Change of attitude and increase in mood swings
  • Shortening of attention span
  • Inability to focus and pay attention when not on a screen or using technology

The Importance of Technology Detoxes

Technology detoxes can significantly improve the overall quality of one’s life when they are struggling with a screen, mobile, or media addiction. Making a concerted effort to distance yourself from technology and screens can have serious and long-term positive effects on how you live your life. Make the decision to remove screens and technology from your day at least once a week to give yourself time to decompress and your brain the ability to relax, unwind, and focus on more important aspects of life. Some ways to detox from technology without making major changes to your everyday life may include:

  • Setting time limits for your children as well as yourself when it comes to using technology and accessing screens throughout your days
  • Set specific time slots that are appropriate for technology as well as time blocks that should remain free from screens and any technology for your entire household
  • Immerse your entire household in outdoor activities, sports, and events
  • Spend time researching and learning about new topics as well as new hobbies that are of interest to you and your children
  • Focus more on family time and activities that do not involve screens or the internet 

When you are committed to helping your children address and overcome their addictions to their smartphones or any form of technology, it is important that you lead by example. If a child sees that their parents are not following the same rules they have set for the children in the home, they are less likely to remain motivated and encouraged to live a life that does not revolve around screens.

Although there is still much to learn about the rise of both mobile and screen addictions among all demographics and age groups, there are corrective methods to mitigate addictions and negative consequences from manifesting. When you understand the potential damage that a screen or mobile addiction may cause and the ramifications an unchecked addiction may have on your children long-term, you can take the appropriate actions to limit access to screens and technology while instead focusing on other important aspects and elements of daily life.

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