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What are signs of technology overuse in kids?

Technology overuse in kids include the following signs and behaviors:
  • Increased need to use technology
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies
  • Amount of time devoted to technology
  • Impact on school performance (grades dropping)
  • Effect on school attendance
  • Increased conflict in the home
Behavioral markers of overuse or addiction will vary from one child to the next. While your child may not exhibit all the behavior markers, they may still be at risk.

Most children will use computers, gaming devices, cellphones and the Internet for extended periods of time if unrestricted. The same way they refuse to leave a birthday party, sit incessantly watching TV or play for hours with a favorite toy, they will persist in using technology, if allowed.

Many parents use devices as a type of babysitter to entertain the kids while they try to get things done, enjoy coffee with a friend, dinner with a spouse or any number of tasks. We’ve all done it, and we know it’s unrealistic to expect parents to stop entirely. As long as parents keep the electronic time fillers to a minimum, the risks from overuse are less likely. Behavioral concerns begin to arise when children demonstrate signs that they cannot let go of the technology. They refuse to turn it off and the more they play, the more they need to play. If their conversations revolve around technology and you rarely see them without it, then your child might be showing behavioral signs of overuse.

Excerpted from the iBook Unplug: Raising Kids In a Technology Addicted World by Lisa K. Strohman, J.D., Ph.D. Copyright © 2015 Lisa Strohman, J.D., Ph.D., Melissa Westendorf, J.D., Ph.D. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.