Having trouble shutting down your computer? Can’t stop refreshing your Facebook or Twitter streams? Will that video game not let you go? Like any form of entertainment or productivity, the Internet is becoming a compulsion. As human beings, we are compulsively seeking unpredictable payoffs. What do people think of my new photo? What will happen after I conquer this level? We always want to find out and want more.
An entire generation of teens and young adults have grown up with the notion that the Internet can be as simple to access as going to their back pocket or purse. The Internet allows for constant social interaction whether it is Social Media or video games. They are always entertained by its offerings to the point that the “real” world does not seem as engaging or interesting. As a parent, how do you go about steering away your teen from the hooks of Internet addiction?
Here are a few tips and steps to incorporate into your daily life to help avoid the addictive compulsion.
- Complete your studies. Electronics can get in the way of your teen’s academics. Upon arriving home from school, have your teen focus on their homework or project they have due. They will gain a great sense of relief and accomplishment knowing they’ve finished their homework early. Instead of the all-knowing Wikipedia website, have your teen utilize books or the library for research papers. Teachers will greatly appreciate this.
- Limit their computer, TV, or video game time. Allot times for your teen’s electronic activities. If they use a laptop or tablet, make sure to put it somewhere they will not see it every day. Encourage them to keep the lid closed on their laptop when not in use; when the computer is not looking at you, you are less likely to use it.
- Call people instead of sending text messages. It’s too easy for teens to send a text and not have to converse with someone over the phone. Have them call a friend and ask them to do something outside of the house for the day.
- Plan family nights. One of the simplest manners of minimizing your teen’s Internet usage is planning an activity away from the television, computer or separate, individual activities. Instead eat dinner together, with those electronic distractions off, as a family and plan games for afterward.
- Realize they have an addiction and that more and more people in the world are becoming addicted to the Internet. Understand that Internet addiction is a very real problem and that your teen is not alone. This addictive behavior is becoming more and more common and well known.
Many families and parents find it difficult to simply disconnect their teen from the Internet. A wilderness therapy program can often be the best solution for this problem. Pacific Quest presents teens the opportunity to engage and interact with nature and our clinicians to help them overcome their underlying need for the Internet.
Our Organic Gardening and Horticultural Therapy allows teens to connect to something that requires their attention and responsibility, rather than a novelty or a tweet. Teens learn the responsibility that comes from working for a goal and that there is more to life than what’s behind a screen.