Internet addiction is real and it is becoming alarmingly prevalent among teens and pre-teens.  Every addiction is harmful. Internet addiction is no exception.  According to psychologists, internet addiction is an impulse disorder with the same social consequences as drug addiction, alcoholism, and gambling.

Today’s teens and pre-teens have grown up with technology at their fingertips.  While this has afforded them amazing opportunities, it can also impede their future.  Addiction to the internet prevents teens from developing interpersonal social skills at a formative time in the lives.  This deficit can have long last consequences in later years.

So how can you tell if your teen or pre-teen is addicted to the internet?  According to the Computer/Internet Addiction Services (ICA) company based in Redmond, Washington, the following are warning signs of computer/internet addiction:

  • Teen spends increased amount of time on the internet.
  • Teen cannot control his/her access to the internet.
  • Teen seems euphoric or happier only when using the computer and internet.
  • Teen neglects friends and family.
  • Teen is agitated when not on the computer or internet.
  • Teen lies about how much time they spend on the internet.
  • Computer and internet use interferes with school, chores, and family life.  Increased absences from school maybe a sign that your teen is staying home to use the internet.
  • Teen feels guilty or depressed about their computer use.
  • Teen experiences physical changes, such as weight gain or loss, headaches or backaches from excessive computer use.
  • Teen’s sleep pattern changes.
  • Teen withdraws from activities they used to enjoy. For instance, teen stops participating in sports, or engaging in hobbies.

According to ICA, if your teen meets three or four of the above criteria, they have serious issues with their use of the computer.  If your teen meets five or more, they are addicted.

 

 

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