How To Tell If Your Kids Are Addicted To Screens

Just because your kid or loved one is on their phones a lot doesn’t mean they’re necessarily addicted. Here are some of the warning signs.

By nowproducerdave on December 4, 2017
(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

“Screen addiction” is a thing, and it’s getting pretty serious these days. But just because your kid or loved one is on their phones a lot doesn’t mean they’re necessarily addicted.

We all know how vulnerable kids are, especially in today’s world of “information now,” but just because our kids are on their phones all the time might not be enough reason to worry. Sure it’s annoying, sure they may ignore you in favor of the soft glow of a handheld computer, but they might not be addicted. But if you think they are, here’s what to look for.

It’s not so much the time spent, it’s more of a “does it cause problems” elsewhere in their lives. Do they favor screen time over other things that used to bring them joy, like other family activities, hanging out with friends, going to see a movie, stuff like that. Does it cause conflict with other family members? Not like a “ok, it’s dinner time, put your phone away,” but more of a fight-starting, extremely heated argument, yelling, throwing, etc, as if you were taking away their will to live. Is there absolutely nothing else that brings happiness to you child like their phone? No friends, no theme park, no favorite food, nothing but their phone makes them happy?

Those are the sorts of things to look for, according to Sarah Domoff who was the leader in a study that looked at kids and their smartphone habits. The study determined that “unhealthy” media use can turn into relationship issues, behavior, and emotional health & stability issues. Of course we know they’re learning things from the internet, and the effects of social media can have similar damaging affects to their emotions, but if you think they’re just going too far down the spiral of device use. Check out some more info on the study and what to do here.

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