The Net is an engaging source of information, interaction and leisure. Today, the entire World Wide Web is more accessible than in the past. Regrettably, this availability can also lead to personal and family problems. Internet addiction has the potential to destroy your child's life and mess up their personal relationships. As a parent the very first thing you need to do is identify if there is really a problem.
Detecting Internet Addition in Children
Does any of the following ring a bell for you as a parent?
- Your Child Suffers from Anxiety - Your children may use the Internet to distract themselves from their worries and fears. An anxiety disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder may also contribute to excessive email checking and compulsive Internet use.
- Depression - The Internet can be an escape from feelings of depression, but too much time online can make things worse. Internet addiction further contributes to stress, isolation and loneliness of your child.
- Your Child Cannot Manage Time - Does your child frequently show signs that their homework is not being completed and turned in on time? Does your child say they need to go online for a few minutes but end up staying on for hours? Do they get irritated or cranky if your online time is interrupted?
- Isolationism - Is your child's social life suffering because of all the time they spend online? Are your children neglecting their family and friends?
- Failing Grades - Does the time spent on the computer correlate to their failing grades?
- Strange Behavior / Acts Secretive - These are signs that your child may not only have an Internet addiction but also an addition to sites they know they shouldn't be viewing such as porn sites.
- Poor Sleeping Patterns - Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night and find your child on the computer when they should be sleeping?
- Seems Preoccupied - Does your child seem preoccupied with getting back online when away from the computer for an extended period of time?
- Lost Interest - Has your child suddenly lost interest in activities that were enjoyable before he or she had online access?
The Emotional Toll
Internet addiction among children is really a growing concern. Online access is an important tool in the education of our children and a critical part of the modern world. In addition, this is an extremely amusing and informative medium. However, these very qualities also make it an enticing escape for a lot of children. They could be anyone in an online chat room, or play thrilling and challenging games against other players from all corners of the Earth. With the click of a mouse, they can enter an alternative world where the problems of the real life are no longer present, and all the things one wishes he or she might be or experience are possible.
Children who lack rewarding or nurturing relationships or who have problems with poor social and coping skills are in greater risk to developing inappropriate or excessive online habits. Because they feel alone, alienated, and have problems making new friends, they turn to invisible strangers in online chat rooms looking for the companionship and attention missing in their real lives.
Socially, they learn to instant message friends in place of develop face-to-face relationships, that may influence their way of relating to peers.
How Can I Solve My Child's Internet Addition?
The Internet is a big portion of education and social communication for kids. It may be hard to tell when your kids are on line too much. For many kids, being online may be no problem. Other kids might have more addictive personalities. Here are some ideas and tips to prevent and stave off Internet addiction:
- Have your child do non-computer activities when schoolwork is done.
- Set time limits on social networking or computer games.
- Encourage them to take up a hobby or visit friends in person. If the child has difficulty with this, it could be a sign of addiction. They might be using the Internet to escape from real life. In that case, you should consult with a doctor.
- Be a good role model. Manage the computer use in your own life well.
- Introduce them to some other kids who handle their computer use sensibly.
- Install monitoring software. If your child refuses to abide by rules you've set for computer usage, installing a monitoring software that can restrict the times that your child can use the computer as well as track their usage should strongly be considered.
See our SpyAgent review. This product has all of the features you'll need to help you, as a parent, combat your child's Internet addition. Some of the features you'll want to look for are Internet usage history, excellent reports, ability to lock down the computer at certain times (like 1AM), ability to monitor websites, take screenshots, and track keystrokes typed.
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