Warning Signs of Technology Addictions in Kids (and Adults)

  1. Mood swings – Kids that are addicted to technology tend to get angry and confrontational when their access to the technology gets disrupted. They may also experience depression, anxiety, and obsessive thinking.
  2. Sleep Disturbance – Sleep can be disrupted either because of the amount of time kids are spending using the technology or because of the difficulty they have falling asleep as a result of their obsessive thoughts about the technology.
  3. Substitute Technology for Meaningful Relationships – Kids often would rather interact with or through the technology rather than directly with other people. This can result in kids not developing the adequate social skills they will need throughout their life.
  4. Drop in Grades – Anything other than what they are addicted to is frequently seen as unimportant.
  5. Lying – Kids that are addicted have to lie to cover up the level of their involvement with the technology. This helps them protect their access to their addiction. Anything that threatens their access to their addiction is seen as the problem.
  6. Decrease in involvement with anything or anyone not associated with the technology that they are addicted to. – Most addicts want to hang out with people that are doing the same things. This helps them feel that their behavior is “normal” and that other people have the problem.
  7. Increase in Secretiveness – Kids that are addicted tend to become more secretive about what they are doing and whom they are communicating with.
  8. Increase in Isolation – Kids that are addicted tend to withdraw from the family and from other meaningful relationships.

It is important to remember that underneath their tough exteriors, people that become addicted frequently feel shame, hurt, anger, depression, and loneliness. They frequently feel out of control, but will rarely admit this while they are actively in their addiction. Often the addiction helps them change the way they are feeling and, as a result, becomes their basic strategy to cope with life. This can severely affect a kid’s emotional development if left untreated.