Internet Addiction Warning Signs
If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from Internet addiction, there are several warning signs to watch for. Many of these symptoms are similar to depression and anxiety, which also need to be treated as soon as possible. Sue Scheff shares these warning signs in an article on Examiner.com:
•Feelings of intense happiness and euphoria while using the Internet, and feelings of depression, anxiety or irritability if away from the computer
•Cravings for the Internet—never having enough time with it
•Neglecting family and friends—spending more time with the computer and less time doing activities previously enjoyed
•Getting behind on homework or school activities
•Lying about what they are doing while online
•Complains of dry eyes
•Complains of headaches
•Complains of backaches
•Changes in eating habits such as skipping meals or over-eating
•Neglect of personal hygiene
•Problems with sleep
If your child exhibits several of these characteristics, it’s imperative to seek help from a certified professional. It’s also important observe your own Internet habits. Do you spend too much time in front of the screen? Our behaviors impact our children, so it’s important that we set a good example.
She also suggests keeping the computer in a common area of the home where it can be monitored by you instead of allowing your child to have a computer in his or her room. Scheff writes that it’s very important to NOT ban the Internet; instead, work with your child on a time schedule that is fair for both of you.
In addition, encourage social activity outside of the Internet. Because chatting, emails, and other online social media make it easy for teens to stay at home it’s important to plan events with friends and family and give your child opportunities to socialize face to face.