Why is internet addiction a concern?

  • Spending time on the Internet allows people to escape into a virtual and anonymous world. The problem is that for young people these virtual worlds can begin to take on a sense of reality that, in some cases, becomes more satisfying than the real world
  • Children are captivated by the opportunities afforded by the Internet and end up surfing irrelevant Web sites, engaging in chat-room gossip, and playing games at the cost of healthy productive activities
  • Excessive use of the Internet can lead to academic impairment and poor integration in extracurricular activities
  • Internet Addiction has now gained credibility among mental health professionals as a clinically significant disorder which negatively impacts social, occupational, family, and financial functioning

What are the psychological symptoms of Internet addiction?

  • a sense of well being or euphoria while at the computer
  • not being able to stop the activity
  • neglecting family and friends
  • irritability when not at the computer
  • problems with school or job

What are the physical symptoms of Internet addiction?

  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • dry eyes
  • migraine headaches
  • back aches
  • irregular eating patterns
  • lack of personal hygiene
  • sleep disturbances

How can we help children & teens from becoming addicted to the Internet?

Internet addiction in young people poses a new concern for society. The exorbitant amount of time young people spend in the virtual world has repercussions in the real world. There is a need to educate our children in the importance of balancing activities in their lives.

  • The easiest remedy for Internet addiction is to monitor the amount of time your children spend online. Establish “screen time” in your household, set time limits and be consistent in enforcing them
  • Encourage your children to get involved in extracurricular activities such as sports, dance, clubs, etc. This will serve to get them away from sitting in front of a computer monitor for hours at a time (and there will be the added bonus of your children getting exercise!)
  • Be a role model. Spend time with your children doing activities that take all of you away from the computer

Healthy Relationships

Being immersed in the digital world brings with it potential for new types of relationships and interactions while sometimes making it more challenging to continue developing off-line relationships. It can be hard for families to maintain and continue to build healthy relationship with the distractions of media and technology. It can be an even greater challenge helping your children develop healthy relationships when using digital tools.

Recommended Resources

The Door That’s Not Locked

Common Sense Media

Healthy RelationshipsThe Door that’s not Locked has excellent resources for parents in talking with their children about online communication and healthy relationships.

Common Sense Media advice videos. Good conversation starters when watched with your child.