When we talk about addictions, drug addiction comes to mind, but at present, there is a lot of talk and research about addiction to technologies (smartphones, tablets or video games). When do addictions start in children? What are the most common? What can parents do? We answer all the doubts about
When we talk about addictions, drug addiction comes to mind, but at present, there is a lot of talk and research about addiction to technologies (smartphones, tablets or video games).
When do addictions start in children? What are the most common? What can parents do? We answer all the doubts about childhood addiction.
Addictions in children and adolescents: which are the most common?
When we talk about addictions, we can refer to addictions in which there is a substance, (drugs for example) or addictions "without substance" (to the game, the computer, food ...). In childhood, addictions usually refer to the use of technologies and not so much of substances, and in adolescence we already talk about addictions due to substance use.
With small children, in primary school, what worries parents is the "addiction or dependency of their children with technologies and videogames." At present, many parents are worried because they think that their children are "hooked" to their mobile phones. to the tablet ... and they ask us if it is possible that so small, they can be "addicted" to them. "My son gets up in the morning and the first thing he does is take the tablet or ask for my cell phone" "He spends hours playing" "If I take my cell phone, it gets angry, it screams and it gets really angry" are some of the concerns that many parents transmit to usIn adolescents, in addition to the previous ones, there is the fear of addictions to substances. , abuse, dependence and addiction
We must differentiate between use, abuse, dependence and addiction, addiction would be the last rung of a process
: We understand by use that type of relationship with drugs or technologies in which, bie n by their quantity, by their frequency or by the physical, psychological and social situation of the subject, no immediate consequences are detected on the consumer or on his environment.
Abuse: We understand abuse as that form of relationship with drugs in which, due to its quantity, frequency and / or physical, mental and social situation of the subject, there are negative consequences for the consumer and / or its environment.
Dependence: State in which the addict must continue to consume the drug to avoid the symptoms that result from abstinence.
Addiction: Addiction is defined as a chronic and recurrent brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and consumption, despite its harmful consequences. It is considered a disease of the brain because drugs modify this organ: its structure and functioning are affected. These changes in the brain can be long-lasting, and can lead to dangerous behaviors that are observed in people who abuse drug use.
When addictions begin in childrenThis is a question to which we can not answer categorically and establish a critical or key age. That a person develops an addiction depends on many factors (personal, social, contextual) and the type of addiction, (an addiction to technology is not the same as alcohol or drugs) so we can not say, to the 5 years, or at 15.
In the case of technologies, according to studies conducted in Spain, the addiction to new technologies starts at 7 years. In the case of substance addiction, adolescence is usually the age of onset.
What can parents do if our child has an addiction?
- It is not about demonizing its use but about establishing guidelines in its use. The screens by themselves do not cause problems, it is
the lack of education in their use which causes addiction in children,
with the repercussions that this has on their development, (sleep problems, anxiety, attentional problems, etc.) Es - It is important, in the case of the use of technologies, that parents establish clear guidelines en in their use. Put some limits, some times of use of tablets, videogames, mobiles and facilitate or favor the realization of activities in children, such as sports, outdoor play, workshops etc ...- We must not forget that we must set an example, as well that parents should also moderate their use. Es - It is important to bear in mind that children,
when they are young, do not have the capacity to self-regulate or control their impulses, and we are adults, parents who must "teach" or regulate our children. - Learning to tolerate frustration and control impulses is an essential aspect in the prevention of addictions. And in that learning to tolerate frustration, the existence of norms, limits and the management of emotions are fundamental aspects.
- Prevention is fundamental:
A very important factor of protection or prevention is the personal factor. A good self-esteem, self-confidence, in their environment, good communication with their parents, social skills and conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and emotion management, impulsivity control ... These skills or protection factors are fundamentally developed in the home, from the birth of the child we can say, although the school and the environment also have a fundamental role. - In addition, there is prevention at the "educational" level that is done from schools and schools or from institutions, informing and educating. What should we do if we believe our child has an addiction? If we think that our son, child or adolescent has an addiction, we should go to the appropriate professional to guide us and advise and, if necessary, perform the appropriate intervention or guide us and refer the appropriate professionals, specialists, addictions.