After 16 plus years as a high school teacher and more than 18 years of being a tutor, it has become increasingly obvious that more and more teenagers are not just using technology but have a level of addiction to them.
Addiction is something that controls you, rather than you being in control of it. Not every teenager who uses technology is addicted to it. There are many students we teach at InFlow Education who have a balance in their lives. They tend to meet with their friends regularly for outings, play a sport or are a part of a group in some form or another.
I often hear parents talk about technology like it is the worst thing to happen to society. One one hand, I can see their point. During my generation (I was born in 1976), people had addictions too. The difference being you usually had to leave the house to get access to it.
This generation’s addiction of choice is on them most of the time which makes it more obvious and problematic. But it can also be a blessing in disguise. I’m not talking about how technology has its benefits.
I think most people would agree there are advantages that have come with the advancement of technology. There is access to information and sharing of information that is unprecedented. Our children are able to call for help when in need and ordering food has never been easier. Just to name a few.
What I am talking about here is the red flag of addiction being waved at a parent. Years ago if a child was suffering, the addiction was usually hidden and it usually took obvious substance abuse for there to be a wake-up call that something wasn’t right.
Whilst drug addiction is prevalent with teenagers, technology addiction can be an early wake-up call which can lead you to intervene before it possibly leads to more harmful addictions developing.
The number of teenagers I am being asked to coach is growing each year. Some are battling substance abuse, but most have an addiction to either their phones, gaming or social media.
The addiction led to them to coaching and learning a set of habits on how to be more self-caring, resilient, mindful, present and balanced. Life-long skills they may not have learned were it not for the addiction that led them to life coaching.
If you notice the signs early enough, the addiction might just end up being a blessing rather than a curse.