Recognizing Electronics Addiction in Children and Young People
Electronics are an important part of our lives. Wise use of electronics gathers necessary and helpful information for use in life. Electronics are a source of learning and problem solving. They provide quick and easy connection to friends and family. They deliver ways to collaborate with others and quickly interact on tasks and responsibilities. However, cell phones are a servant, not a master. Other electronic devices should be turned off at times to limit their invasive nature.
Electronics Addiction Defined
Electronics addiction is the physical, psychological, or spiritual dependence on devices or electronic activity. In most case, the individual is not able to pause, stop, or disengage the interaction for any length of time. This builds internal thinking patterns that compromise a person’s identity, emotions, and general performance, and hinders healthy relationships with friends, family, work, or God.
FACT: Almost all children and young people lack the internal strength of character to manage electronics well.
Electronics addiction is dangerous because it stunts wholesome development. Parents must help children manage electronics well. That usually means setting limits. And, as we all know, setting limits on children in general tends to increase conflict and tension. When it comes to electronics, children can become quite intense causing many parents to back away, not knowing what to do.
This series of articles will guide you to prepare yourself as a parent, and to know how to approach this very important area of a child’s life. Every child is different. Some need more management than others. Many parents are surprised however, that their otherwise compliant child, has been engaging in activity that is against family values. And children who are easily tempted have a world of danger enticing them every day.
Note These Warning Signs That May Indicate Electronics Addiction
- Continually tired, sleep deprived, or maintaining poor sleep habits.
- General negative attitude when interrupted or away from electronic stimulation.
- Isolating oneself or resisting involvement in family, work, or school.
- A pattern of hostility and anger towards others.
- General anxiety or specific worry about friends, popularity, or acceptance.
- Sadness, despair, or discouragement about life.
- Obsessive, demanding, and controlling behaviors designed to protect screen time or electronic engagement.
FACT: If young children turn to electronics when bored, it robs them of the creativity and brain stimulation they would otherwise be developing.
FACT: Electronics have no discernment, and thus interrupt what might otherwise be positive social experiences like meals, riding in the car, and family bonding times.
1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” Any form of addiction, even an addiction to something that might otherwise be helpful, hinders a person’s life. Children have much to learn and many skills to develop. Some good is learned from electronics activity. However, spending huge amounts of time on electronics always prevents children and young people from other essential developmental activities.
What You Can Do Today
Beliefs exist in a child’s heart. Parents play a huge role in molding what children believe. The comments you make and the experiences created in your home help children define themselves and understand life more effectively.
Many children believe that their job description in life is to have fun. Pleasure becomes their goal. In fact, any activity that is not fun is often resisted or merely tolerated. During childhood and youth children must learn basic skills like responsibility, thinking about others, and contributing to family life.
One of the most important truths parents communicate is that children and young people are on a mission. They have a very important job to do. Adult life is challenging for anyone. Those who develop the life skills early do much better at handling relationships, work, money, emotions, and other essential elements of success.
Spend some time talking to your children about how the current experiences in their lives are opportunities to strengthen character, develop skills, and learn important ways to handle life both now and in the future.
This post is the beginning of a series of articles on Navigating Electronics. If you haven’t signed up for the FREE Online Parenting Seminar that starts September 28, you can do that now here. Please note that the third session is all about Navigating Electronics.