an eye8 min read

Prevent Screen Addiction & Tips for Screen Addiction Treatment

If you go to a concert in 2023, as the house lights go down and the stage lights go up, there’s something else you may notice as well: the blue light emitted from thousands of screens as the audience prepares to watch the entertainment through their device, rather than paying attention to what’s in front of them and living in the moment.

This may not seem like a big deal but it’s a classic example of just how addicted to screens we have become. It’s also not without cause for concern - we seem to have lost the ability to put down devices and just be present with others.

Screens have become an integral part of our lives. While they offer numerous benefits, excessive screen time can lead to screen addiction, particularly among children and teenagers. In this blog, we will explore what screen addiction is, why it is detrimental to young minds, and how parental control apps can help prevent and manage this issue. We will also provide some eye-opening screen addiction statistics and tips for screen addiction treatment.

What is screen addiction and what are signs of screen addiction?

Screen addiction disorder, also known as ‘digital addiction’ or ‘technology addiction’, refers to excessive and compulsive use of screens, such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles, leading to negative consequences in various aspects of life. Screen addiction affects children and teenagers who struggle to control their screen time, often prioritizing virtual interactions over real-world experiences.

With the amount of time that the world’s population is spending on screens rising, it’s no wonder that there is cause for concern - both from a parent's perspective and a healthcare perspective. For example, according to a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, American teenagers (ages 13-18) spend an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes on screens each day, excluding time for schoolwork (as of 2021).

What causes screen addiction in youth?

What are signs of screen addiction? The causes of screen addiction may involve a variety of factors. While every individual's situation is unique, here are some common screen addiction causes and contributing factors:

  • Instant Gratification: Screens provide instant access to a wide range of content and activities that can be highly engaging and rewarding. The instant gratification and immediate rewards offered by screen-based activities, such as social media interactions, gaming, or binge-watching, can create psychological dependence and reinforce addictive behaviors.
  • Dopamine Release: Screen-based activities stimulate the release of dopamine. This dopamine release can create a sense of euphoria and reinforce the desire to engage in screen-related activities repeatedly, leading to addictive screen addiction symptoms and behavior patterns.
  • Social Connection and FOMO: Social media and screen addiction often go hand in hand. Social media platforms and online communities provide a sense of connection and belonging. The fear of missing out (FOMO) on social interactions, events, or updates can drive individuals to spend excessive time on screens, constantly seeking validation and connection.
  • Escapism and Coping Mechanism: Screens can serve as a form of escape from real-life stressors, problems, or emotional challenges. For some individuals, excessive screen time becomes a coping mechanism to avoid or numb negative emotions, leading to reliance on screens as a means of distraction or self-soothing.
  • Lack of Alternative Activities: Insufficient access to or engagement in offline activities can contribute to screen addiction. When individuals lack fulfilling hobbies, social interactions, or other sources of entertainment and stimulation in their lives, they may turn to screens as a primary source of engagement and pleasure.
  • Easy Accessibility: The widespread availability and easy accessibility of screens and digital devices contribute to the development of screen addiction. With smartphones, tablets, and computers being readily available, individuals can easily fall into patterns of excessive screen use, often leading to addictive behaviors.
  • Psychological and Emotional Factors: Underlying psychological and emotional factors, such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, or low self-esteem, can make individuals more susceptible to screen addiction. Screens can offer a temporary escape from these emotional difficulties, leading to a cycle of dependence and addictive behaviors. Unfortunately, this can also lead to a cycle of these same negative feelings, as the screen addiction itself can lead to feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem.
  • Lack of Awareness and Self-Regulation: Many individuals, particularly children, and teens, don’t realize the toll that excessive screen time can have on their minds and bodies, and may lack awareness of the potential risks and consequences associated with excessive screen time. Additionally, insufficient self-regulation skills and difficulty in managing impulses can contribute to the development of screen addiction.

It's important to note that these factors may interact and influence each other, and not everyone who engages with screens heavily will develop an addiction. However, understanding these underlying causes of screen addiction can help individuals, parents, and professionals develop strategies and interventions to prevent and address screen addiction in youth.

The dangers of screen addiction in youth

Once someone gets hooked on screen time, it can be hard to break the cycle of addiction. But why is screen addiction bad?

There are several side effects of screen addiction that parents should be aware of. For example, excessive screen time can hinder the development of essential social skills in children and teens. Excessive reliance on virtual interactions can lead to difficulties in face-to-face communication, empathy, and building meaningful relationships.

Additionally, screen addiction can have a negative impact on physical health: Spending prolonged periods in front of screens can contribute to a sedentary lifestyle, leading to a range of physical health issues, including obesity, poor posture, and sleep disturbances.

According to research from Harvard Medical School, screen addiction in kids can interfere with cognitive development and academic performance. Excessive screen time has been linked to reduced attention span, poor memory retention, and decreased academic achievement. The addictiveness of activities like social media use and messaging late into the night - particularly for teens, disrupts deep REM sleep cycles - which can go on to affect academic studies and creativity.

Studies have also shown that too much screen time is associated with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in children and teens. Constant exposure to social media can also lead to feelings of inadequacy, bullying, and cyberbullying.

Helping children with screen addiction and screen addiction treatment

A study by JAMA Paediatrics revealed a “Goldilocks hypothesis” in which children who spend less than 1 hour of time per day on screens and those who receive high doses of screen time have been shown to have the poorest psychosocial functioning, compared with children with moderate screen use.

This led to the conclusion that restricting screens altogether is probably not a feasible or optimal solution to managing child or adolescent screen time. However, it is still recommended to take appropriate steps to manage screen time. So how can we help prevent screen addictionin youth?

How to prevent screen addiction

Using a parental control app like FamilyKeeper, with a Screen Time Control feature, can offer a practical solution when it comes to managing your family’s screen time usage and preventing screen addiction. Parental control apps are useful in a variety of ways in order to battle screen addiction:

  • Set Screen Time Limits: By establishing healthy boundaries, parents can encourage a balanced lifestyle and prevent excessive screen time, as well as promote digital well-being.
  • Content Filtering: Parental control apps enable parents to block or filter inappropriate content, ensuring that any screen time children and teens are exposed to doesn’t include dangerous or offensive material while browsing the internet or using apps.
  • Monitor App Usage: Tracking the apps used by children and teens can provide insights into their screen time habits. Parental control apps often offer activity reports, allowing parents to identify potential signs of addiction and take appropriate action.
  • Screen Time Scheduling: Help your children plan how to spend their time by focusing on enjoying their favorite activities, rather than drifting back into screen time as the default activity.

As screen addiction poses significant challenges for children and teenagers, impacting their physical health, and cognitive development, it's important to create an open dialogue with your children about the dangers of excessive screen time and the importance of a balanced lifestyle.

Encourage them to share their concerns and experiences, and work together to find solutions. Play online games with your children rather than forbidding them completely - but take the time to learn what your kids like to use their screen for, and what they can learn from screen time s well.

For more information on how to set up the Screen Time controls on your child’s phone, visit:

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