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From the Teen Counselor: Battling Cyber Addiction

If you have ever watched a baby develop over time, you’ve probably noticed that infancy is an incredible time for growth.  They seem to develop a new skill or habit nearly everyday.  Their world is exploding and they are exploding right along with it.  Second only to that time of infancy is the teen years, in terms of growth.  Finding a teen counselor in Arlington Texas who can help you navigate this growth is crucial. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a human brain continues to develop and mature until the mid to late 20s. This is when the brain is learning to adapt, plan, prioritize and control impulses. 

A teenager’s use of social media, and the internet in general, is a hot topic right now and for good reason.  The question is:

Is my teen online too much?  And how much is too much?

-92% of teens go online daily

-76% of teens use social media

-77% of parents say that their teens get distracted by their devices and aren’t engaged when they are together as a family

-59% of parents say that they feel their teen is addicted to their mobile device

-50% of teens say that they feel they are addicted to their mobile device

(Sources: Pew Research Center and Common Sense Media)

Here are some easy to spot signs that your teen is battling a cyber addiction:

  1. They lie about the amount of time they are spending online.
  2. If they are not online, they are preoccupied with thoughts of being online.  They have feelings of “missing out” when they are not online.
  3. They have trouble cutting back on their online time when their use is limited.  This can sometimes lead to fights or feelings of tension.
  4. They show signs of anxiety or depression after spending time online.

There are some things you can also do as parents to help your teen with cyber addiction. 

The first is to talk to them about it. Help them understand their feelings towards their devices.  Have they noticed that they feel dependent on them?  How do they feel after they’ve perused Instagram or Tik Tok?  Does it make them feel better or worse?  Another way to help your teen is to model good online behavior yourself.  If they see you on your phone constantly, you are modeling that behavior and that it is acceptable.  You can also set aside “screen free” times as a family.  Dinnertime is a great time for a “no screen” rule.  Set the standard and make sure everyone abides by it. You can also keep tabs on your teens social media accounts and internet usage.  Know what sites they are visiting and talk to them about what is and is not appropriate to post as well as engage in. 

We are navigating a new world where information, good or bad, is at our fingertips.  Our teens are being inundated and are in information overload a lot of the time.  We can help them navigate this road.  If you are needing help, reach out.  Insight Child & Family Counseling is a counselor for teens in Arlington, Texas.  We can help you and your child understand how to tackle their addiction.  Give us a call today at 972-426-9500 or visit us online at ldscounselordfw.com for a list of resources to get you started. 

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