Tuned Out: Is Your Technology Use Influencing Your Teen?

You’ve seen it before—a group of teens, a couple or a family at a restaurant sitting together but not being together because everyone is checking their phones? More and more, technology is ever present in our lives, and we are all at danger of succumbing to overuse.

The millennial generation is known for being the first generation to heavily use technology in their day-to-day lives. In fact, 24 percent of teens go online “almost constantly,” while 92 percent of teens report going online daily, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey. Due to the widespread use of smartphones today, overuse of technology is commonplace. But as parents of millennials adapt to changing times, they to can become addicted to technology, negatively impacting their children. If you’re worried your overuse of technology may be becoming a problem, read on to learn how to prevent technology addiction and reinvigorate your approach to parenting.

Avoid Using Technology as a Distraction Tactic

Parents are constantly searching for ways to carve out little pockets of time to themselves. Too often, though, parents suggest their child go surf the Web or play video games just to get them out of their hair. If you find yourself suggesting your teen go entertain themselves with technology just so you can do the same, your overuse of technology may be a problem. Moments when your teen wants to spend time with you can be rare, compared to their childhood when they wanted to spend every waking moment by your side. Remind yourself of this the next time you consider using this tactic. Spending quality time with your teen is of the upmost importance.

Remind Yourself to Be Present

Multi-tasking is a myth (cue gasp of mothers worldwide). It’s true—multi-tasking has been proven to be inefficient and it can even negatively impact health. Researchers at Stanford University found that people who are regularly attacked with multiple streams of electronic information have trouble paying attention, recalling information and fail to switch from one job to another as well as those who give their full attention to one task at a time. If you feel the itch to check your cellphone while the family recaps their days at the dinner table, or read your Kindle at your child’s sporting event, you’re not only damaging your brain, but you’re also doing a disservice to your teen. Work to be in the present moment with your family and enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

Teach Your Teen Valuable Skills

“Do as I say, not as I do,” should never be a parent’s motto. If you want your teen to ease up on their technology use, you should set the standard yourself. Our modern-day default when we are bored or not 100 percent stimulated is to pull out our smartphones to text or jump on the Internet. This 21st century mindset is harmful to our families, as it stifles creativity and fosters mindlessness. Encourage your teen to develop a healthy relationship with technology, and your overuse of technology will begin to subside as well.

At Pacific Quest, we treat teens suffering from Internet and video game addiction, and teach lessons on how to prevent technology addiction. If your family is experiencing a problematic overuse of technology, contact our Admissions Team today. We’re here to help.

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