How to avoid and prevent the excessive use or addiction of ICT in children

Addiction of ICT– Children today are basically “digital natives”, that is, since they are small they are surrounded by all the new technologies that have appeared over the years. They feel attraction for everything related to them, since they satisfy their needs for entertainment, fun, communication and information. However, they leave the training capacity of ICT in the background and do not give full importance to the educational use they actually have.

ICT, or information and communication technologies, bring many advantages, but parents are increasingly concerned about the amount of time their children spend using these tools, which can cause problems in many aspects.

Children  have problems with sustained and direct attention, but when they are playing with consoles, mobiles, tablets, etc., their attention increases, as they continuously receive an immediate response to their plays. With little additional effort they obtain a positive reinforcement through points or prizes which causes a gradual increase in their interest and motivation towards their insistent use.

That is why children may have more possibilities to make excessive and inappropriate use of technology, which can cause anxiety problems, sleep disturbance, obesity, attachment disorders, aggression and many more difficulties. combat them by intervening as soon as possible and introducing the necessary changes.

When it is necessary to intervene in the excessive use or addiction of ICT in children

excessive use or addiction of ICT

The factors that can indicate the immediate need for intervention with respect to the excessive use of ICT could be:

  • When the time spent on technology completely consumes what you should use for other activities.
  • When he leaves other entertainments that used to be fun for him, like playing with brothers or his friends.
  • When he retires from family moments and friendships.
  • When you demand the use of ICT while eating.
  • When you spend a lot of time on the Internet without any purpose.
  • When your emotions become uncontrollable by putting limits on their use.
  • When you experience anxiety and sudden mood swings by separating you from them.

How to avoid its excessive use or addiction of ICT

addiction of ICT in children

Sometimes parents resort to the use of technologies for convenience: Because they want children to be entertained while finishing dinner or talking on the phone, at family or social gatherings, etc.

This misuse causes ICTs to lose their power as positive reinforcement in the face of positive actions or behaviors that we intend to reinforce, and ends up being a “currency of exchange” and may eventually turn against the parents themselves.

To avoid falling into these errors, it is necessary to take into account these 5 tips:

the excessive use or addiction of ICT

 Parents must be a model of responsible use:

To give an example it is necessary that parents also leave or reduce considerably the use of ICT. You have to set time limits and use it for other activities.

Designate a “time” to connect with him

Depending on the case, the child may have started the addiction by having social anxiety. So one of the new rules is to differentiate when you are allowed and when you are not allowed to use these devices. It should be replaced for a little time to share with them.

 Explore alternatives with him

Allow him to create a list of the things he likes to do. This can not include anything of technology. Apply the ideas during the “designated time to connect with him” whenever possible.

 Make the transition little by little

Someone who is addicted to ICT will need to disconnect progressively. If it is eliminated abruptly, we will feed the infantile anxiety instead of improving it. If you have performance and learning problems as a consequence, you should not be challenged with very difficult or very easy activities, because the mood will get worse.

Seek professional help if necessary

If the situation has become uncontrollable, there is no good parent-child communication and anxiety is very high, it is best to find a professional in child psychology to help find out what is the root of the problem and how it can be solved.

How to prevent your addiction

the excessive use or addiction of ICT in children

To prevent the excessive or addictive use of ICT, standards must be incorporated into the life of any child in general, but particularly these are much more necessary in the development of the lives of children.

Basic rules that parents should apply to avoid addiction to ICT could be:

  • Set a time limit for use.
  • Determine that you should spend the same time playing and being with your friends or siblings.
  • Insist that if they need the computer and the Internet to carry out school activities, they should limit themselves to using it only for this purpose.
  • Prioritize family moments before ICTs.
  • Stay with them while using the devices.

And if all this is not enough, install the computer and other technologies in the room, where you can always monitor it.

Finally, the use of new information and communication ICT can lead to problems of addiction, especially among the youngest. We speak of addiction of ICT when there is compulsive behavior, in which we substitute verbal communication for the use of electronic means. The so-called techno-addicts often use technology as a refuge from their fears, they need to be continuously connected, and they can even react violently if they are imposed limitations. People suffering from this type of addiction may suffer changes in mood, lack of control and the so-called techno-stress, that is, the fear that machines fail. The addiction to social networks can also cause people to develop very different personalities to the real one. On a physical level, it can lead to headaches, upset stomach, insomnia and back pain, among other effects. The treatment for this type of addiction is made with a personalized follow-up and with a very high intensity of therapy. The goal is for the patient to regain total control of his life. To draw the most appropriate treatment for each case, we offer a first free visit with our team.


Roger Walker

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