Fox21 TV: CyberSafe Parent – Curbing Your Child’s Phone Addiction

Posted 01/18/2018

Fox21 TV News
Scott Kilbury

Seth Gustafson is a typical seventh grader. He plays video games with his friends on his phone.

"You've got to think of something other than your phone," he said. "You've got to think of homework, thinking of going outside and being active and stuff." 

His mom realizes having a phone is a double-edged sword.  

"It’s a battle,” Kim Gustafson said. “I love the phone and I hate the phone."

The phone comes in handy for things like picking up her children at school. But she doesn't like the obsessive behavior her kids can sometimes exhibit -- especially her high school daughter when she’s on social media.

"I know that I don't like that she's so interested and is constantly checking it," Gustafson said. 

Earlier this month, investors urged Apple to do something to curb IPhone addictions

Amy Moore is a clinical supervisor at Aspen Pointe, where she has seen firsthand the effects of iPhone addiction. 

"When kids use their cell phones, they have notifications from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter," Moore said. "There's a very similar effect that the brain reacts to when drugs are being used. When substances are being used, it's that same sort of addiction pattern, or can be." 

“Many times symptoms that they report might be depression, anxiety, low self-esteem," she said. "Once we do a little bit of digging, we find out that at the core there's some smartphone dependency there." 

It's a serious issue that’s getting worse. Moore said social media and smartphones are at the root of a spike in teen suicides in Colorado.

"Parents, I think, just need to be encouraged that cell phones are a privilege, not a right," she said. 

If parents don’t feel comfortable or need someone to intervene, they can call Aspen Pointe at 719-572-6100.

Click here to watch the video. 

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