A majority of today’s teens have never experienced life without the internet. They have used the internet since they were old enough to touch a screen and eagerly learn to utilize new technologies as quickly as it can be created. For many teens their use of the internet and technology can blossom into an addiction and in some cases the addiction involves internet pornography and cyber-sexual activity. Some teens become so obsessed with their on-line activity that all other important activities in their lives are neglected. When this occurs, there is no other way to describe this phenomena other than a tech addiction. Most teens addicted to porn access the explicit materials through technology. Most teens who engage in reckless sexual activity find partners using technology. We are often asked by parents “How do we break our child’s addiction to technology?” Our answer is simple……STAR Guides.
Signs of Teen Technology, Internet, Porn and Sex Addiction include:
- Majority of friends are people he or she has never actually met in person
- Anxiety and irritability when away from the internet
- Being on-line becomes more important than time with friends or hobbies that were previously enjoyed
- Drop in grades in school
- Lack of sleep because of on-line activity.
- Meeting up with people met online to engage in sexual activity
- Missing meals or lack of nutritious eating because of time spent on-line
- Lack of interest in personal hygiene and appearance
- Dishonesty from use of parents’ credit cards for internet purchases for games, porn sites, etc.
- As with most addictions, technology, internet and sex addictions typically are driven by underlying emotional issues. Examples of these underlying issues include:
- Stress or worry from life’s demands such as school, relationships and family problems
- Boredom, depression or lack of satisfaction from other life activities
- Irrational belief of his/her purpose or existence is to be entertained
- Lack of self-confidence leading to the development of a different identity online
The obvious intervention for tech and internet addiction is to unplug the teen from technology for a period of time while providing opportunities to learn to manage life without a dependence on technology and the internet. STAR Guides provides families with an excuse to “unplug” from the internet and spend time actually working on solutions for family problems and conflicts that stem from overuse of technology.