7 Questions We Should Be Asking About Student Screen Addiction
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (DSM-V) is already considering whether to add “Internet gaming disorder (IGD)” to its growing list of behavioral addictions. Scientists have gathered enough compelling research to indicate that the rise in this behavioral addiction is enough to cause concern.
It’s likely that diagnoses of screen addiction disorder (SAD) may not be far off; medical professionals have already noted that some children are more likely to avoid socialization and imaginary play if they spend excessive amounts of time in front of technology screens.
If you are worried that your child is spending too much time in front of a computer screen, you should be asking these seven questions about student screen addiction:
- Has the child lost interest in activities they once enjoyed?
Tablets and computers can be fun for learning, and they offer entertaining diversions. However, children who engage exclusively in screen time and ignore other activities may be spending to much time in front of the computer.
- Does the student insist on having more time in front of the screen?
Users develop a tolerance for the digital devices they engage with. Initially, users may feel satisfied with fifteen minutes of computer time, but they build up a tolerance to the pleasure received from the interaction. Eventually, they may need thirty minutes of tech time to experience the same pleasure.
- Does the child exhibit signs of impulsiveness around computers?
The learner who seems anxious to get in front of a screen may have SAD. Like an addict who needs another fix, the student also needs to have more computer time. The child may fidget or show other signs of nervousness and even withdrawal. Children experiencing these symptoms may try to make desperate dashes to the computer for additional screen time, and getting them to turn off their devices may be difficult.
- What danger exists in letting my child play with my phone or tablet?
Smart phones and tablets can be entertaining for young students especially, but the screen lighting arouses and overstimulates the brain, and even rewires the neural pathways.
- How can I help my child balance screen time and creative play?
Look for tech tools that support instruction in specific subjects, encourage collaboration among peers, and allow for social sharing. Monitor the time spent in front of the screen by setting time limits just as you would for any other assignment or activity.
- How much student screen time is too much?
If screen time prevents your child from completing other tasks or taking care of personal needs like hygiene, eating, and sleeping, you’ll need to reduce the amount of time spent in front of the computer screen. Sit down with your child to plan how to best spend the available hours in a week, including sleeping, play, school, and homework. You both may be surprised at how little time is left in the week for screen time.
- What impact will student screen addiction have on children?
Although countries such as China and India have already identified technology addiction as a serious disorder and developed treatment programs to combat student screen addiction, the medical profession in the United States has not yet committed to treating the problem as an addiction.
The World Health Organization, however, already recognizes the impact the Internet has had on children; student screen addiction could be every bit as serious.