Watch for Young People and Internet Addiction

Are your children spending too much time online?

Do you suspect your children are spending far too much time on the computer and neglecting their other responsibilities?

You may find them becoming more irritable and unsociable and staying up until the early hours of the morning surfing the net. They may be spending a lot of time downloading music or other material and essentially being in front of the computer screen 18 hours a day.

If you answered, “yes” to these questions, you might discover that your son or daughter is becoming addicted to their computer screen and cyber space.

Computer and Internet addiction was never an issue in the 1980’s, because the Internet was not popular with the public until it came online in a big way in the early 1990’s. Around about 1998, onwards, psychiatrists and other professionals were beginning to hear of a new medical term - Internet Addiction.

This was met with skepticism and denial, but it has become evident that more and more young people (and old people) are hooked. If this is your child, it may be time to do something about it, otherwise, it could destroy his or her life.

Here are 8 signs your son or daughter may be addicted to the Internet:

  1. They wake up at 3.00am in the morning to go to the bathroom and they stop and check their emails on the way back to bed.

  2. They turn off their modem and they get an awful empty feeling inside.

  3. They decide to stay in high school for an additional year o because it has free Internet access.

  4. They spend half their plane trip with their laptop on their lap and their meal in the overhead compartment. (You get our meaning?)

  5. They ridicule other kids with slow modems and dial-up

  6. They throw tantrums when their hard drive crashes.

  7. When they haven’t logged in for 3 hours or more they get physically ill and start to twitch.

  8. You never get in a meaningful conversation anymore, just a grunt or a hi – most teenagers go through this stage anyway but now its much worse.

Young people who are addicted to the Internet are likely to use it anywhere from 40 - 80 hours per week, so it becomes like a full-time hobby, with single sessions that can last up to 20 hours at a time.

Because of this excessive use, sleep patterns are totally disrupted because of late night logging in and the young person typically stays up way past normal bed times and has difficulty waking up for school or Uni at the normal time.

In extreme cases, pills are used to help with the long Internet sessions and sleep deprivation causes excessive fatigue, which impairs functioning and decreases the immune system, leaving the youth vulnerable to all sorts of disease.

Prolonged computer use can result in a lack of proper exercise and leads to increased risk of back strain, eyestrain and other syndromes. The physical side effects of using the Internet are mild compared to the chemical dependence and addictive use of the Internet, resulting in academic and occupational impairment.

Moral of the story? – Watch your child or young person closely and monitor or limit their Internet and computer use NOW – while you can.

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