Internet use is growing at an alarming rate among adolescents and teenagers. A recent report revealed 92% of teens go online daily, 56% several times a day, and 24% almost constantly. That same report indicates that U.S. teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 spend an average of six and a half hours on screen media use.
Many parents are unaware that their child has become addicted to the Internet to the point where they can no longer function in their daily lives. It poses a severe threat to your child's physical and mental health. Helping your child will require educating yourself about internet addiction and getting help as soon as possible.
For most with internet addiction, the Internet activates the reward system within their brain the same way alcohol does when a person with a substance use disorder takes a drink or a drug. This happens because the brain releases dopamine, making them feel happy and excited. It feels so good that they want to experience it again and again. Over time many teens become desensitized to this artificial stimulation, so they need more and more activity to get the same effect.
A recent study from the University of California, Los Angeles found that heavy use of digital devices can lead to significant changes in the brain. Researchers scanned the brains of teens and young adults ages 14 to 21. Those who engaged in seven or more hours of screen time daily had lower levels of brain connectivity in regions associated with attention and emotional control than those who spent an hour or less using electronic devices every day.
If your teen is spending hours daily on the computer, it's time to look at their behavior. Here are some signs that your child may be suffering from an internet addiction:
If you're worried about internet addiction, do not blame yourself or your child. Addiction is a complex disease and often has its roots in other issues. Teens who spend too much time on the Internet could become addicted to gaming, pornography, gambling, and social media. Other factors that lead to internet addiction include:
Parents can utilize the following tools to assist their children with treatment.
There's no doubt that the internet serves as an excellent tool for learning, entertainment, and communication. However, it can pose many potential dangers for teens, particularly vulnerable to addiction. Fortunately, they can treat this condition. At Clearfork Academy, our treatment options include outpatient therapy, support groups, and self-help programs. We understand that it may take time to achieve full recovery; luckily, our resources and staff will work to find treatment and therapies that meet your teen's individual needs. Such measures will help your teen recover from their internet addiction and help them channel that energy into productive, healthy activities. If your child is dealing with an addiction to the internet, don't wait another moment. We will provide your teen with the professional treatment they need to begin their recovery. Once your teen completes treatment, they will gain their self-esteem and confidence. To learn more, contact us today at (817) 259-2597.
Originally from the Saginaw, Eagle Mountain area, Austin Davis earned a Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Ministry from Lee University in Cleveland, TN and a Master of Arts in Counseling from The Church of God Theological Seminary. He then went on to become a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in the State of Texas.
Austin’s professional history includes both local church ministry and clinical counseling. At a young age, he began serving youth at the local church in various capacities which led to clinical training and education. Austin gained a vast knowledge of mental health disorders while working in state and public mental health hospitals. This is where he was exposed to almost every type of diagnosis and carries this experience into the daily treatment.
Austin’s longtime passion is Clearfork Academy, a christ-centered residential facility focused on mental health and substance abuse. He finds joy and fulfillment working with “difficult” clients that challenge his heart and clinical skill set. It is his hope and desire that each resident that passes through Clearfork Academy will be one step closer to their created design.
Austin’s greatest pleasures in life are being a husband to his wife, and a father to his growing children. He serves at his local church by playing guitar, speaking and helping with tech arts. Austin also enjoys being physically active, reading, woodworking, and music.