Early Use of Technology: My Child is Addicted to the Tablet

When it comes to children in the digital age, the line between dependence and normal use of technology is thin. How to tell if your child is addicted to a tablet?
Early Use of Technology: My Child is Addicted to the Tablet
Bernardo Peña

Written and verified by the psychologist Bernardo Peña.

Last update: 08 August, 2022

We’ve never been so attached to technology as we have in the past years. These recent changes have made children, even babies, handling technology a common sight. Having grown up in a world of digital technology, these children are the digital generation.

It isn’t about keeping children away from electronic devices but about teaching them to make good use of them. You must correct them when necessary and give them the necessary tools so that they don’t depend on them.

Thus, don’t let the little ones become slaves of technology. People should use objects and not the other way around.

What’s technology addiction?

According to the information in this article published in the Digital Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, dependence, or addiction, is a problem characterized by a lack of self-control and there are consequences. In addition, it also implies difficulty in resisting the urges to do a certain action.

A child addicted to the tablet invests too much time using this device and it interferes in several parts of their life, such as family time, for example. It also implies a loss of control of the situation. Thus, it’s a form of dependence.

Furthermore, this behavior follows three parameters:

  • Tolerance: the child needs more and more time of use to achieve the same stimulation.
  • Dependence: a large part of their life revolves around the reinforcers provided by a tablet.
  • Abstinence: when they’re not with the tablet or cell phone, they have strong impulses to get that stimulation.
tablet addict

My child is addicted to the tablet: factors

According to specialists, people don’t just simply get addicted to technology and stay hooked 24/7. In reality, children gradually become addicted as a result of a combination of multiple factors. Join us below as we explain in more detail.

1. Biochemistry

Some believe there are biochemical factors that could have an impact on the development of addictions. For example, those with neurotransmitter problems may be vulnerable to becoming dependent on technology.

2. Family environment

This is one of the most influential factors in the development of addictions. If parents aren’t concerned about teaching their children how to use technology properly, or if they delegate the responsibility of entertaining their children to these devices most of the time, children may develop dependence on technology. They receive little attention and so they seek satisfaction in them.

Happy family

4. Mental disorders

Sometimes, a child is addicted to the tablet due to a major depressive disorder, social phobia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), among others. Note that, in such cases, you must implement certain measures in coordination with a professional.

5 Trauma

Childhood trauma can be a stepping stone to technological dependence. Some of the experiences that can qualify as traumas are the loss of a loved one, bullying, school failure, and physical abuse (be it sexual or not), among others.

Symptoms of a technology addiction

How can you be sure that your child has a tablet addiction? According to this article in Psychology Today, there are certain warning signs:

  • Sleeping too little or disturbed sleep patterns. For example, sleeping less than five hours a day or going to bed in the early hours of the next day and waking up late.
  • Disregarding important activities. These activities might be family, school or health related.
  • The child is unable to limit the time they spend on technology.
  • They lie about the amount of time they spend on electronic devices.
  • They’re visibly irritated when unable to access the internet or a device.
  • In addition, they’re socially isolated and their academic performance is poor.
  • Friends or family members often complain about the time these children spend in front of a computer, phone, or tablet.

What can you do if your child is addicted to a tablet?

Mother and daughter talking about the early use of technology.

You must work on the relationship between your child and new technology to be healthy and positive once again. Here are some recommendations.

  • Introduce devices into their lives gradually and always under some supervision.
  • Establish rules about the use of electronic devices.
  • Place the device in a common space to prevent isolation.
  • Encourage and support hobbies and leisure activities (individual or team), such as reading, sports, music, etc.

Device addiction during the recent pandemic

The problem of tablet addiction and, in general, screen time at home, grew exponentially during the pandemic. Several studies warned for parents and teachers. Despite being at home more, parents didn’t use the time to be with their children and didn’t keep them from using them electronic devices.

Everything happened too fast. Thus, coping strategies emerged amid adverse conditions and on the fly. Online work, education, and home care only meant parents had less time and required new forms of organization.

Children ended up thrown into the tablets, affected by the lack of schooling and, in general, subjected to high doses of the stimulation these tools can deliver.

For example, the zapping type of reading the networks encourage tends to damage memory. It also hampers children’s capacity for synthesis, interiority, concentration and, in short, performance.

Although children may prefer screens, parents are responsible for the use they make of them. The recommendations are along the lines of connecting with educational content, generating fun ideas at home, maintaining physical activity, building schedules, and announcing the next day’s activities.

“In difficult situations it’s common to allow children to skip limits or try to compensate for discomfort with concessions or material goods. For example, it’ll be very common to overindulge in screen time during isolation, especially in teenagers. Thus, we must try to continue to set limits, with affection and consistency.”

Consult an expert in regard to the early use of technology

Some of the previous recommendations only work as a means of prevention. However, if you’re seeing certain symptoms already, your child might already be a tablet addict. To make sure, you should seek out professional help.

Today’s article won’t only benefit your child; it’ll also help you understand addiction problems and ways to confront them. In addition, you’ll also learned some strategies for loving and respectful rehabilitation or prevention.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.