8 Ways of Controlling Technology Addiction in Children

Shraddha Gupta,  freelance contributor

Due to the frequent use of technology young minds are becoming dull as well as unimaginative and creativity is becoming endangered. While many parents think that they are aiding their children by getting technological devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets etc.; they are only partially correct. Without the proper control and restriction on use of the internet, children can very easily become addicted to social media platforms. The boon of technology then, starts to become a bane.
But if the right controls and limits are set, parents can prevent this addiction and children can benefit more from the internet than they would lose. Following are the ways in which this addiction can be controlled or prevented:
1. Setting a Time Limit
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Time limits for the usage of technology should be set for children and it should be made sure that they are adhered to. It might be troublesome for parents in the beginning, but they should remain firm. This will ensure that the child uses technology more for learning and reading. Children can be motivated to make this restriction, a habit by rewards and punishments.
2. Using the Token Economy Technique
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Token economy is a form of behaviour modification designed to increase desirable behaviour and decrease undesirable behaviour with the use of tokens that the children would receive after displaying desirable behaviour. The collected tokens can then be exchanged for whatever they want. Tokens can also be taken away on display of bad behaviour.
3. Self Control
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Children at a tender age try to imitate their parents to learn behaviour. This behaviour generally becomes permanent and doesn’t change very easily is learned. If children see their parents on screens most of the time, they will tend to do the same. Children will have a natural attitude of depending on technology if they see their parents doing the same.
4. Find Ways to make Technology Habits Productive
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A technology obsessed child may be trying to find a passion for him or herself. Try and channelize that into a positive path and enroll him/her in various classes like programming, sports, dancing, animation etc. for him/her to be sure of whether they want to pursue their life in this field as a career or if it is just a hobby.
5. Using the Technique of Aversive Conditioning
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Parents can instill the hazards of using technology excessively like obesity, weakening of eyesight, lowering of concentration span etc. to make their children more aware about why they want them to leave this addiction. This will also give the children an insight that their parents are caring and they just want the best for them always.
6. Motivational Interviewing
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This technique involves structured conversations that can help children increase their motivation to overcome technology addiction by, for example, helping them recognize the difference between how they are living at present that is, behind screens and how they wish to live in future while spending real time with parents and peers and see what they were missing out on.
7. Self-monitoring of Urges
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Another way to foster detachment from urges to check social media almost every 5-10 minutes, is to have teens use self monitoring procedures to keep track of the internal and external cues that stimulate the urge, their mood, how long the urge lasted, coping skills used to cope with the urge and how successful or unsuccessful these coping strategies were.
8. Urge Surfing
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In this technique, teens can be taught to label these internal sensations and cognitive preoccupations as an urge or craving that is beginning to develop and to foster an attitude of detachment and dis-identification regarding this wave of desire, initially through training and support from parents. If after practicing this for a while, it becomes easier for the teens to delay and distract this urge and eventually, their addiction diminishes.

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