Interparental conflict, parent–adolescent attachment, and adolescent Internet addiction: The moderating role of adolescent self-control
Teens + technology = trouble? Authors Wei, Chen, Xin, Liu, Yu, and Zou (2020) demonstrate that the answer is probably “it depends.” The authors focused on the period of early adolescence, to analyze the connections between interparental conflict, parent–adolescent attachment, and adolescent Internet addiction.
I appreciated the way these authors looked at Internet addiction as a symptom with underlying causes, rather than the fundamental illness. Treating an underlying disease is more effective than just treating symptoms.
As the mother of two young daughters, I found their article an interesting read. Unlike previous generations, teens today are growing up in a world where widespread Internet use is a normal part of life. Millions have, or are at risk of developing, Internet addiction. The authors’ findings made sense to me; a teen watching frequent disagreements between their parents is likely to withdraw emotionally from them, and the teen may then try to cope by retreating into excessive Internet use. It was thought-provoking to note that a teen with a high level of self-control is more likely to be able to resist this negative progression, despite facing similar circumstances to a teen with a medium or low level of self-control.
Suggestions for reducing teen Internet addiction focus on improving interparental relationships. As parents, we bear the responsibility of modeling healthy relationships with our partners and connecting with our young people so they feel emotionally secure. This can lower the risk of them developing Internet addiction..
Kelly Baildon | Publishing Editor