Modern-day technology is not only addictive but a way for recovering teens to easily connect with past friends who were bad influences. If your child has shown signs of having an addiction to technology or is in recovery we suggest monitoring their use. There are steps you can take and apps you can use to act as a support system without making your child feel overwhelmed, and that still give your son or daughter a sense of peace and freedom.
Common Reasons for Technology Reliance
There are a number of reasons for a person to develop an addiction to phones, such as a history of depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping and similar mental health issues. Many of these are co-occurring disorders for those in recovery. Reaching out to people face-to-face is difficult for many teens, especially when they have been struggling. Doing this online can make things easier, but at the expense of becoming a crutch.
Knowing the Signs
There are also a number of indications that a person not only has an addiction with technology but is using it to hinder their recovery. For instance, your teenaged son or daughter might seem nervous or tense without access to her or his phone, or she or he might prefer online interactions to those that take place in the real world. Another sign is having an ever-present need to check the phone, even when it’s not vibrating or ringing. Being glued to an electronic screen for lengthy periods of time that steadily increase is another red flag for parents to make themselves aware of. If your teen leaves the room immediately after receiving a FaceTime or Phone call this may be a sign they are communicating with people they shouldn’t be.
Thankfully, there are several apps parents can use to help teenagers kick unhealthy technology habits. The FamilyTime app is available for both Apple and Android devices and works by letting parents control the type of online content their kids consume. You can also set time limits and receive alerts for when a phone goes into or leaves a certain geographic area. The MamaBear app lets you send messages to your entire family, keep an eye on your child’s social media activity and set speed limits for teenagers who are old enough to drive.
Qustodio is an ideal app for parents who are on the go a lot or otherwise lead busy lives. The way the app works is that it gives you a quick dashboard view of your child’s most recent online activity. You can also see how much time your son or daughter spends on specific social media apps like Twitter and Facebook. User controls let you filter out sites you don’t want your child seeing, set time limits for online use and keep track of text messages. All of these allow you to monitor your child’s recovery and help them feel supported during this time. They know that if they ever run into a tricky situation you can give them an easy out.
Besides using apps to monitor your kids and help them change their habits, there’re plenty of other things you can do that don’t involve technology. For instance, if your child is in a band, plays sports or is involved in similar extracurricular activities, do your best to attend games, matches, plays, performances and the like. You can also make an effort to keep in touch with the parents of your child’s friends, making it easier for all of you to keep a closer eye on your kids and know what’s going on in their lives without being overly intrusive.