Developing a Health Techno-Family System:

Warning Signs of Computer Overuse and Addiction

One of the highlights of TechnoStress: Coping With Technology @WORK @HOME @PLAY by psychologists and experts on human/computer dynamics Michelle M. Weil, Ph.D. and Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D. is a chapter entitled "Two Kids, a Dog, and a Computer," in which the authors illustrate how important it is to maintain a healthy family in the face of our fast-p[aced, isolating technological world. Some of the suggestions they offer on how to develop a healthy techno-family system include: educating yourself, creating family rules for technology, creating a forum for discussions, facilitating growth and exploration and staying alert and supervising.

Be alert for any of the following warning signs of potential technology-related problems with your children:


Getting less sleep than normal because of staying up late and/or waking early to be on the computer.


Staying home "sick" from school more often than normal.


Busy telephone lines when you are away from home, but the children are there.


Large credit-card bills for online service time and/or large telephone bills for connecting to a service. 


Constantly talking about online friends whom you have never met.


Trying to cover the computer screen when you walk by or quickly changing the screen when you ask what they are doing.


Lots of e-mail messages every day. This could signal potentially dangerous online relationships.


Lots of computer disks showing up all the time with new games and programs.
© 1997-1999 Michelle M. Weil and Larry D. Rosen

Any of these signs could indicate that your child or an adult family member is using technology to excess. Be mindful of the supreme holding power of technology. Overuse can spring up literally overnight: It doesn't take a long time to become addicted.

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More information on related topics can be found at either Dr. Weil's or Dr. Rosen's web sites.

E-mail Dr. Weil or Dr. Rosen.