Digital Separation Anxiety: When Kids Can't Disconnect



Jenny Yip, PsyD, ABPP
digital separation anxiety and children
Anxiety and Depression
December 4, 2019
- 2 pm

What is the longest length of time you’ve been without a digital device? In our evermore digitized world, being compulsively “connected” 24/7 has become the norm. Unfortunately for the iGeneration, many kids today are compulsively attached to their digital devices and social media, and the thought of disconnecting is unbearable. The digital connection leads to a restriction of real-life activities, as the pixels and “likes” come to replace actual human interactions. All the while, self-esteem and worth are only garnered through external sources of “followers” and “likes” rather than internal means, such as achievements and real-life successes. The result is a vicious cycle of anxiety, narcissism, isolation, depression, and even catastrophic fear at the thought of being separated from the device. 
Families often become unwilling participants and enablers by allowing unlimited usage of devices, paying for data usage, and primarily communicating with their children through texting rather than directly face-to-face. Yet, simply taking away devices can leave the child angry, resentful, and even more isolated. This presentation reviews the challenges of disconnecting in today’s digitized world, reviews the consequences of digital addiction, and offers tips and tools to detox digitally in order to minimize the effects of digital separation anxiety. 

Presenter(s) Biography

Jenny Yip, PsyD, ABPP

Jenny Yip

Dr. Yip is a clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and a nationally recognized OCD, anxiety, and parenting expert. She developed the Family Systems Based Strategic CBT, and has treated severe OCD & anxiety disorders for almost two decades. She’s been featured in various media venues, and co-hosts the StressLess Life Podcast. In 2008, she found the Renewed Freedom Center – Los Angeles to provide the most advanced treatment for those suffering from OCD and anxiety disorders. In 2016, she established the Little Thinkers Center – Los Angeles to help children with academic challenges develop the necessary critical and creative thinking skills that build self-confidence and resiliency. Dr. Yip is Board Certified in Behavioral & Cognitive Psychology, is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at USC Keck School of Medicine, and is on various professional boards and committees geared to improve mental wellness. She is the author of “Productive, Successful You: End Procrastination by Making Anxiety Work for You Rather Than Against You”.

Professional Post
Evidence-based Tips & Strategies from our Member Experts
Block reference
Other New Content
Block reference

As with many other physicians, recommending physical activity to patients was just a doctor…


Exposure therapy (“exposure”) is the most effective psychosocial treatment ingredient for…


ADAA's professional members play a key role in providing resources and treatment and research…


“Toxic Support” is a series of 12 illustrated posters dedicated to revealing the toxicity of…