How to Tell If Your Kid Has Online Addiction
Internet addiction is classified the same way as drug, alcohol addiction and gambling. It was added to the list of popular addictions due to the growing Internet obession among teenagers. If previously, you would see your children going online to make a research or to watch a movie, these days teens are simply attached to their laptops and cell phones wherever they go. Even if gathered together, you will often see them hanging out while browsing their smartphones for new pictures on Instagram and Facebook or playing online games together.
According to the study, joined by 2 000 children of 8 to 18 years, more than 70% of kids were proved to spend 53 hours a week in front of the screen of their computers, tablets or smartphones. More than 25% of kids admitted they have game addiction and nearly 50% said they had more interests online than in a real world.
If your child goes online frequently, it is most likely that you have nothing to worry about, but if he/she is expressing signs of the internet addiction mentioned below, you may want to take action:
- Excessive time spent online. As soon as your child reaches the point of spending 3 and more hours online that might be a sign of internet addiction.
- Mood swings. Your child is expressing mood swings or symptoms like anger, anxiety, and depression after going online.
- Sudden changes in weight. Both rapid gain and lose of weight.
- Sleeping patterns changes. Sacrifices time devoted to sleep to spent time online, your child is sleeping till noon and spends almost all night online.
- Social isolation. Neglecting family and relatives, staying home instead of going outside.
- Expressing irritation when cannot get online. Your child is expressing anger whenever there is no Wi-Fi connection, including public places like restaurants, cafes etc.
- Expressing preoccupation with getting back online. Your child talks about getting back online, feels relieved when reaching the internet.
- Lying about time spent online. He/she sneaks online to answer unimportant chat or simply browse the internet.
- “Living online”. Taking pictures of all social and unimportant events, downloads numerous photos and videos form everyday life. Obsessively checks comments to posts and photos downloaded.
- Losing track of the time while online. Your child doesn’t notice the time when online, skips meals and is constantly late.
- Headaches, melancholy, general changes in behavior. Your child expresses changes in behavior, complains about headaches after going online.
- Secrecy in sharing online activity. The child expresses anxiety and anger when checking the browsing history and asking about his/her online activity.
- Physical signs. Internet addicts can be suffering from physical signs like migraine, backache and even carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you notice a couple or more of those signs in your kids, you should do something about it. There are several things parents can do at the early stage of addiction. If nothing helps, you schould address a psychiatrist.
Anyways, it is always better to prevent a problem than to deal with it. Thus, you should teach your kids about the rational usage of gadgets from the very childhood. Talk to them, set some boundaries and, most importantly, spend some time with them so that they have fun with you instead of their gadgets.