Last updated: 11/1/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Teenagers brought up in the age of technology face a completely new area of challenges never encountered by previous generations. The Internet has brought about a truly innovative means of socialization that as of yet remains unknown in terms of its potential for good and bad. For teenagers with problems in other areas of life, the Internet and the computer in general may also carry risks for addiction.
On top of schoolwork, friends and social activities, parents must now keep an eye on teens’ computer activities. Being able to identify whether your teen needs computer addiction treatment is the first step towards getting him or her needed help. While the notion of computer addiction treatment may seem extreme, the effects of computer addiction can become increasingly worse over time when left untreated.
Addiction, in any form, takes on certain distinguishing characteristics that tend to become more apparent with time. While most teenagers can find a natural balance between computer time, schoolwork time and time spent with friends, others may rather spend excessive amounts of time using the computer. Computer addiction treatment may be needed in cases where a teen does little else outside of the computer.
In effect, a teen that spends increasing amounts of time on a computer develops a compulsive behavior disorder that drives him or her to crave more of the same. Much like any other kind of addiction, physical signs, such as constant tiredness or fatigue eventually become apparent.
Without even knowing it, teens start to neglect other important life areas that were once important to them.
Since there’s no actual alcohol or drug substance involved, computer addiction treatment would focus on helping your teen address whatever psychological or emotional issues lie at the crux of the addiction. Teens then learn new and healthy ways of coping with life issues without needing to “escape” inside the computer.
Not unlike adults, a teen will seek out outlets for pent-up stress and unmet needs as a way to cope with difficult circumstances and emotions. Excessive amounts of time spent on a computer may actually be an outlet for problems in a teen’s life. A computer addiction can also act as a self-soothing escape for teens dealing with underlying depression and/or anxiety problems.
Computer addiction treatment works to help teens identify stressful areas in their lives and develop healthy ways of understanding and coping with difficult emotions. Computer addiction treatment can also help teens suffering from depression and anxiety disorders learn how to better manage and cope with daily life.
Social challenges and raging hormones can make the teenage years especially difficult for some young people. Teens who struggle with fitting in or making connections with peers may be highly susceptible to computer addiction. According to the Washington University Physicians’ site, some teens may feel more comfortable interacting with others in the online world, which works to fan the flames of computer addiction even more.
If your teen exhibits any of the following signs, computer addiction treatment may be warranted:
- Isolating from friends and family
- Neglecting schoolwork and other obligations to spend more time on the computer
- Exhibits irritability, anxiety and/or depression symptoms when away from the computer
- Inability to cut back on time spent on the computer
In effect, once excess computer use starts to cause negative consequences in a teen’s life, it may be time to consider computer addiction treatment.