A young woman stares with blank eyes at her mobile device

Screen Time and Addiction: Are You Modelling Addictive Behaviour for Your Kids?

When we think about addiction, we typically associate the term with alcohol, drugs and gambling.

But what about the device you’re using to read this blog post? 

Technology, specifically in the form of portable tech like mobile phones, has become just as addictive and as difficult to overcome for a large part of the population. How addictive? Researchers claim that more than six per cent of the world’s population is addicted to some form of mobile technology. 

(Check out these stats from TechJury for even more jaw-dropping digital details.)

Dr. David Greenfield, founder and medical director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, says in this video interview that “tech addiction is the use of screens to the point that one of the major spheres of our life become imbalanced or unmanageable.” He highlights a reduction of sleep, sedentary behaviour, the inability to experience social empathy and social confidence, and the inability to do well in school or your career as possible side effects of too much screen use. 

But how do you know if you are, in fact, addicted to that little computer in your pocket?

If you are concerned about your own personal screen use and its effects on your family, Psychology Today outlines a list of questions that can help you take stock of your digital habits:

  • Have you noticed an increase in how often you use your device?
  • Have you felt guilty about how often you use your device?
  • Do you experience an urge to use your device?
  • When you are using your device, do you experience a lift in your mood?
  • When you are using your device, do you experience a thrill?
  • When unable to use your device, do you experience discomfort?
  • Have you noticed times in which it seems as though time was lost while you were in the zone using your device?
  • Do you use your device to brighten your mood?
  • Have you tried to reduce the amount of time that you use your device? If so, were you successful in reducing your amount?
  • Have your loved ones complained about your use? If yes, have you continued your usage rate regardless of their complaints?

But it’s not just adults who are glued to their screens. Technology use among children is at an all-time high, and their addictive tendencies with tech often start with what they are seeing at home. 

Greenfield says that the best way to establish healthy tech use practices in your children is to create a family context on how technology and screens are going to be used inside and outside the home.

“The idea is to create a balanced use where screens are part of your life, not the majority of your life,” he says.

Greenfield says to establish open forms of communication and standards, regulate usage limits, filter content and apps, and set periods of time where you all have a digital detox. “Children essentially imitate what their parents are doing,” he says. “If you want your children to buy into the idea that limited screen use is healthy and desirable, you have to do it yourself.”

Recent Posts

Muskoka Woods: Memories That Last a Lifetime

Muskoka Woods: Memories That Last a Lifetime

At the heart of the Muskoka Woods experience is a staff that shares a common desire to help young people realize their full potential. They are committed to making fun experiences the foundation for building new friendships and self-confidence — and creating memories...

read more
Summer Camp Sun Safety Tips

Summer Camp Sun Safety Tips

One of the benefits to camp is that guests get fresh air all day. Instead of being home watching TV or playing video games, guests at Muskoka Woods are swimming, water skiing, playing beach volleyball and connecting with nature. And, while this means they are getting...

read more

Follow us:

>
Share This
close

Everything we know from 40 years of youth development 

Sent to YOUR inbox.