Internet Addiction in Kids

The Internet can be an enchanting place for kids – it’s got games, videos, music, books, news, shopping, you name it. Unfortunately, with the world wide web’s ever-growing data base, something else is growing, too . . . and it’s not good. The time that kids and teens spend online has been increasing rapidly over the past few years, and it’s gotten to a point where Internet addiction is becoming a common issue. The online world definitely does have a lot of benefits to offer, but when the fine line between enjoying something, and being obsessed with something, has been crossed, then it’s time to take action. 

It can be hard to tell whether the time that your child is spending online has gotten to an extreme or not. Many kids start spending more time on the computer during their teenage years, and that’s perfectly normal. Kids may also be online longer because they’re getting more homework, or because they want to stay in touch with friends via the Internet. So, how do you know when a child’s computer time has become “too much?” 

There are actually several warning signs of over-excessive Internet use. Kids may lose track of time when on the computer, become irritable or moody when not allowed to go online, or lie about how much time they’ve spent online. They may sacrifice sleep time to be on the computer, or go online when they should be doing more important things, such as homework, chores, or spending time with family or friends. Someone addicted to the Internet may also stop being interested in things that they had enjoyed before going online, and use the world wide web as a place to go to to during painful situations or to avoid responsibilities.

Obviously, this whole “too much computer” thing is no joke. Kids addicted to the Internet not only put their good eyesight at stake, but also their social lives, school, family, and their own mental well-being, not to mention their physical and emotional health. Kids who are spending too much time online are even at risk for depression and withdrawal.

So, how do you get children to step away from the screen It can be hard at first, but start establishing time limits for the computer. Talk to your children, and help them sort out their priorities. Make computer time and homework time separate. And, if it doesn’t work, seek the help of a professional. 

Internet addiction can be a troubing situation, but rest assured that once you identify the problem and take the necessary steps to solving it, everything will be fine.