Transcript for Three different families struggle with the excessive use of technology
Reporter: Walk down any street, any mall, any hallway, everyone is bowing to their screen. Our devices are beeping, buzzing, begging us to swipe, like, love, tweet, retweet, send, reply, forward. Facetime, Snapchat, Instagram. Twitter, tumbler, kik. Reporter: This is Brooke, a California teenager. She's 15 now and a self-professed recovering cell phone and social media addict. How long was she on her phone each day? When she got home from school, at like 3:00, until she went to bed at 9:00. It was more. Reporter: It was more. Brooke says she would be up until 4:00 in the morning and later. The second a text went off, the second someone Snapchats me or facetimes me, I always answered and I always waited and waited and waited for someone to reply. It was like my heart. I couldn't put it down. Reporter: Teenagers have always had this fear of missing out, but it's just mushroomed. It's nuclear. Reporter: And Brooke's selfies reveal a troubling progression, imitating bad behavior she was exposed to online with her phone. The more she started to change and act out, the more we started to really -- Clamp down. Clamp down. Then that created anger. Reporter: Brooke was always two clicks ahead of her parents, Jim and Stephanie. I was constantly making different accounts. I had like six accounts on Instagram. I had multiple Snapchats. I changed the usernames, the passwords. I would block them. We took her phone. She'd go and buy someone else's phone. Reporter: How were you so smart about all this? Honestly, I don't know. It was like they took my phone and I just panicked. Reporter: Anytime her parents took away the phone, Brooke would go ballistic. It was like a knock down, drag-out fightractically to get that phone out of her hand. She would say that, "Without my phone, I have nothing." There was no relationship. We were just a means to provide her with food and shelter and money. Reporter: And a phone. And a phone. Reporter: A winter night in Michigan. An ordinary house on an ordinary street. People just trying to get some sleep. But somebody's up late, trigger happy with that rat-a-tat keyboard on the computer playing first-person shooter video games. The boy in the bedroom is Josh. He's 14 years old and his parents, Al and Christina, say he won't stop, can't stop, playing. What's a typical day in Josh's life? Sleeping in until 11:00, 12:00. Then he would be on until 1:00, 2:00 in the morning. Reporter: 12 hours. Easily, he could. Reporter: They say Josh's obsession began in 8th grade, when he built himself a gaming computer and installed it in his room. Get out! Reporter: You think that was the turning point? Oh, definitely, yeah. That was much more exciting to be on and much more addictive. Reporter: Josh says he's playing up to 60 hours a week. Josh has been in his room since 4:00, nearly five hours gaming. Reporter: Why didn't you just take the computer away? I don't understand. Because when we did take it away, there was a lot of problems in our house with his behavior. Reporter: They confiscate the computer, shut down the wi-fi, even remove the router and lock it in their car. Josh responds by throwing things and punching the walls. There was like a shutdown in communication. Reporter: Was it just the constant fighting with him about this? It was very emotional. Reporter: Al is not only afraid of what Josh might do, he's afraid of what he might do. If it got further, it could have been a problem. It could have been physical and I didn't want that. Reporter: So he was trying to physically stop you? Yeah. Reporter: He throws up his hands and leaves Christina to handle the conflict on her own. And, sometimes, it does get physical. They exaggerate. Like, my mom thinks that I hit her because she takes away my games. I don't do that. She calls it hitting because I, like, swat her hand away. It was just a lot of anger. Lots of anger. Emotional outbursts. Reporter: That sounds completely out of control. Yeah, it was. Josh, you need to get off. Hey. Stop. Reporter: Midnight, 1:00 A.M, 2:00 in the morning. Why are you stalking me? Reporter: All these late night fights leave Christina exhausted. You know, it's after 3:00 and I told you to get off at 1:00. Stop! If you want to make changes, it's hard work. Reporter: They turn to Kevin Roberts. He works with kids having trouble with too much screen time. It doesn't have to be just gaming. It could be texting. It could be the smartphone. Reporter: Roberts is the author of "Cyber junkie," and "Get off that game, now." Your mother is afraid to get rid of the video game system and the computer because she's afraid of how you'll react. It's not my fault that she's scared of me. Reporter: In Ohio, we meet MARIA, 40 years old, attorney, mother of four. Good job! Reporter: She's not a single mother. It just seems that way. She has a husband, Chris, age 44. But you can't meet him right now because although Chris and MARIA have built a life together, careers, a nice home, beautiful children -- on any given evening, Chris is down in the basement past the pink castle and buckets of children's toys. You may think he's too old for this, but the average video gamer is 35. Someone shot me in the face. Reporter: And this one has been taken prisoner by a pastime. You're done. Cheese. Chris was still playing video games, so we ended up coming to the park and having some fun here. Reporter: How many hours a day does he spend playing games? He'll take a whole Saturday and go into the evening when -- when he -- from the time he wakes up until -- Reporter: The time he goes to bed? The time he goes to bed, yeah. Reporter: So, 18 hours? Possibly. It's 2:00 A.M. And I just checked in on Chris, and he's still playing video games. Reporter: Ever since they got married, more than a decade ago, MARIA says Chris is often a no-show for much of their life. Happy Thanksgiving. I'm headed up to our family football game. Chris opted not to play with us. He is going to be playing video games instead. Reporter: Why would you stay with -- I know. Reporter: -- A partner who is that disengaged? I don't know. I think that I really felt like this was a in sickness and in health moment. And, yes, it's hard, but I was committed to him. And I still am committed to him. So we have a house full of people, and he is in the basement playing video games. Oh, god. Come here, bro. Come here. Reporter: Missing life's sweet moments. So zaley's trying blackberries for the first time. Reporter: MARIA is there to see their toddler's first taste of a blackberry. And so are you. What do you think, zayley? Do you like them? Do you love them? Reporter: The only one not there, is her father, Chris. Part of your heart must break for what he's missing? It does. Reporter: They're living in a split screen. Chris gets online. MARIA gets the kids in line. Playtime for him. Bath time for her. Downstairs, play. Upstairs, pray. I am going to go to bed because I'm super tired. This is how we function and this is how we do it.
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