Many adolescents are addicted to the internet. This addiction is not only an end in itself but also a cause of depression.
Studies show that this addiction leads to depressive symptoms which then leads to more dependence on the internet for emotional relief, which in turn leads to more depression.
This vicious cycle can be hard to break, but there are ways! It starts with recognizing the problem and taking action.
Here are some tips on how to fight internet addiction!
How the internet is affecting our lives
What are the risks of our technology dependence? In a moment of weakness, some adolescents may use the internet excessively to escape from social challenges.
Not only that, some adolescents may also suffer from “text-speak” language. How can we protect our children from excessive use of social media? The nature of internet addiction and its relationship to depression in adolescents Most adolescents are addicted to the internet, and it’s not because they’re lazy, social networking sites are a distraction to adolescents during the daytime.
Compared to TV and print media, the web and smartphones are better time management tools for teenagers.
Many teens are more concerned about what their friends are doing.
The relationship between addiction and depression
Being a digital detox, without computers, gadgets, phones, tablets, etc. (the internet is very easily accessible and cheap) can help relieve depression in children.
Dr. Chandra Agarwal, says the best way to do this is by staying away from any form of technology. She says, “they need to avoid mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc. for a period of two days because it is very difficult to stay away from the device when it is close to you.” Her expert suggests, “take your child to a daycare center or make him/her do his/her homework with you and without the internet.” Sleep well Getting enough sleep is very essential for mental health.
Children who sleep well tend to feel better and cope better when they have internet-related worries.
Know if you or your children are becoming addicted to the Internet
Research shows that about 2 in 5 teens are addicted to the internet.
What you need to do is take note of your child’s responses to the internet and ensure that they are appropriate to the age of your child.
Read your child’s social media posts and check up on his or her computer use. If you or your child find any abnormal behavior such as chatting with strangers or the internet use being spent hours on end on social media, then that’s when you should take action.
If you find any of the aforementioned symptoms, then make sure to visit a psychiatrist to find the root cause of the issue and to help you work on it.
Talk to your children about it It’s essential that you explain to your child that the internet is a powerful tool that can be used positively as well.
Signs of addiction
General symptoms of addiction include… Short attention span and trouble prioritizing Interruption of sleep Frequent absences from social life and activities Low self-esteem Negative self-image Risk-taking and proclivity for risky behavior Sharing intimate details of their life Withdrawing from normal daily activities Online gaming addiction has been found to be as physically and psychologically damaging as substance addiction and is linked to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and obesity Long-term impairment of academic performance Increased risk of car accidents and violence Stress, confusion, and feelings of isolation Increased risk of self-harm Decreased quality of life The addiction goes far beyond just having a problem with technology.
The first and most important step is to identify what you’re addicted to. It is essential that you know what is causing the addictive feelings in the first place.
What do you spend most of your time doing on the internet? Does this cause you to feel anxious, high, or nervous? Identifying what you’re addicted to allows you to begin to understand why you need the internet so badly.
Learn to recognize yourself in the behavior you exhibit. With that knowledge, you can begin to address the causes of your addiction by avoiding triggers such as looking at your phone when you’re alone, getting caught up in online arguments, and wasting time playing games that have no point or socializing with people who do not understand you or have bad intentions.
Create a digital detox plan
Block websites and limit your time online. Have a designated internet spot in the house. Reduce the number of hours that you spend online each day.
Get rid of your smartphone and concentrate on communication through your computer, tablet, or even paper.
Decide to save the internet for special occasions (sports, homework, travel) instead of using it 24/7. Keep a log of your internet usage.
Stop using the internet when you’re not feeling well. Reduce your dependency on other people for help (e.g. friends, therapists, etc.) The longer you are addicted to the internet, the harder it will be to break it.
The same thing can be said for addictive behaviors such as gambling, shopping, and substance abuse.
Find an alternative outlet for boredom
Get creative. Forget doing nothing! Try giving your mind a break from constantly scrolling through social media sites.
Instead, make a craft that requires physical attention (Drawing, knitting, building a robot, for example) Choose a healthy coping method Avoiding or using substance abuse can cause depression to worsen.
However, depression can often be treated through different kinds of medication. Having something to do with your hands (like playing an instrument, typing, or using a computer) helps with your brain’s reward system and helps reduce your anxiety.
Avoiding or using alcohol or drugs may be another option, but these two have their own risks. Get creative. Forget doing nothing! Try giving your mind a break from constantly scrolling through social media sites.
Recognize when it is safe to go back on the internet
If you are going on the internet constantly, it’s time to step back! Taking a break from the internet can be a great way to relax and re-focus on what you are supposed to be doing.
A good starting point is to evaluate your time on the internet. Research shows that less than 10 percent of internet users spend more than 2 hours per day on the internet.
If you are spending much more than this amount of time on the internet, your focus is likely too impaired to adequately study or focus on other tasks, such as homework.