Signs of Unsafe or Unhealthy Technology Use

During the preteen and teen years, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether your child is dealing with a mental or behavioral health challenge such as unhealthy technology use, substance use, or bullying, or if the changes in behavior you’re seeing are simply a matter of your child going through a natural transition.  However, it’s important monitor behavior and begin a conversation to find out what is going on in order to know how to best help your child. It’s especially important to take note if several symptoms are occurring in combination, or are occurring over a prolonged period of time.  Even if they’re not dealing with a serious issue, taking the time to talk with them can still be incredibly beneficial.


Some of the most common signs of unsafe or unhealthy technology use can include:

  • A drop in grades
  • Secrecy about their device use
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Mood swings
  • Gets angry or anxious when their device isn’t available to them
  • Receives gifts or money from people you don’t know
  • Becomes obsessive about using their device or specific apps
  • Immediately changes screens or closes an app when a parent is near
  • Downloading pornography
  • Begins taking and/or sending explicit images or video of themself
  • Loses interest in activities not involving their device, apps, or social media
  • Loses interest in school work
  • Change in overall mood, increase in depression, anxiety, and/or anger
  • Begins comparing their appearance with people they see on social media
  • Begins comparing their life with the lives of people they see on social media
  • Feels the need to measure up to what they see on social media
  • Begins neglecting homework and/or chores in favor of spending time on their device
  • Creates multiple social media accounts that parents aren’t aware of
  • Creates multiple social media accounts with the intent of hiding them from parents
  • Begins giving out private personal information on apps or social media platforms
  • Changes in eating habits
  • An increased amount of junk mail arrives at your home addressed to your child



Back to notMYkid Prevention Tools for Safe Social Media Use



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