The internet is a remarkable innovation of modern life. It’s hard to imagine or remember life before the internet. Today’s teenagers have never known that world. Parents across the globe may worry their teens struggle with internet addiction. While some may also joke, internet addiction is real. It’s a process addiction similar to video game, social media, or smartphone addiction. In today’s digital world, teen internet addiction is common, and teen internet addiction treatment programs can help.
If you’re worried about your son’s internet browning habits, Foothills at Red Oak Recovery can help. Our North Carolina center treats substance abuse and process addiction with a holistic approach. Reach our staff today at 866.300.5275 or visit us online to learn more.
When Does Internet Use Become a Process Addiction?
The internet is a vital tool in daily life, especially for students. Unfortunately, it can also be addictive. These habits could be signs of underlying mental health disorders for teens struggling with excessive internet use. Compulsive behavior like internet browsing with negative effects like slipping grades are signs of process addiction. Process addictions involving technology are increasingly common. When a person engages in compulsive behaviors that may negatively affect their mood, sleep, or hygiene, they often do it as a form of self-soothing. This self-soothing often points to larger problems in a teen’s health that need to be addressed. Signs of internet process addiction include:
- Doom scrolling
- Consistent social media use despite adverse effects on mood or self-image
- Spending hours a day on the internet without a goal
- Anxiety, anger, and mood swings when they can’t access the internet
- Binge-watching tv shows, playing internet games, or other online activities that affect mental and emotional health
A process addiction helps people distract themselves from difficult emotions or psychological pain. The internet can provide many with the perfect distraction. This distraction, however, is temporary and can make psychological pain worse over time. By knowing what your teen is engaging with on the internet, you can begin to understand what they’re going through. Because the internet is all-encompassing, it’s hard to know what underlying mood disorders or pain a teen is experiencing.
Talking to Your Teen About Internet Addiction
It can be hard for parents and teens to have honest, constructive conversations. Talking to your teen about internet addiction can make a difference in their health and your relationship. If you’re worried about your teen’s internet use, know you’re not alone. Here are some ways you can talk with your teen about internet use:
- Get curious — Ask your teen questions. Making accusations or asking loaded questions can make them defensive. Ask about what they’re learning or doing on the internet to start the conversation.
- Discuss boundaries — Many teens lack internet and social media boundaries and are not experienced enough in life to set their own yet. Make some boundaries together.
- Take a technology break — Discuss what you could do together for a few hours each week that doesn’t involve technology. Let your teen lead with ideas.
- Implement a screen-free dinner table — Take this time to talk to your teen about their life.
By showing non-judgemental curiosity, you can begin to understand what your teen is going through. Never take away the internet cold turkey. Like any addiction, they may experience a form of withdrawal, leading to substance use or risk-taking behavior.
Seek Treatment for Teens at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
If your teen is struggling with internet use, the team at Red Oak Recovery can help. With holistic approaches to process addiction, our therapists identify and treat underlying mental health disorders and help teens regain their health. Call us now at 866.300.5275 today to learn more about teen internet addiction.