Is My Child Addicted To The Internet?

 

Insights, advice, and recommendations for modern parents dealing with kids and technology addiction.

Scroll to read the article or click the button to consult with an expert

 

Are you worried about your child/teen/emerging’s use of the internet? Do you notice warning signs such as increased anxiety and depression after using the internet or when internet access is not available? Are you worried about some problematic “offline” behaviors? Access a cheat sheet to evaluate online behaviors to figure out the next steps.

By Dr. Sibylle Georgianna

What Our Experts Are Saying

Insights, recommendations, and advice for parents balancing kids and technology from the doctors, subject matter experts and thought leaders in the Modern Parent Project community.

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What to Do?

Direct, straightforward and summarized advice and recommendations.  Parents, please consider the following insights when navigating the challenging topic of kids and technology.

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What NOT to Do?

The wrong words or actions can sometimes make things worse with kids.  Parents, please consider avoiding the following potential traps.

Check Out These Indicators for Online Behavior Problems

Are you seeing in your child/teen/emerging adult the following behaviors:
– Sacrificing previously enjoyed offline activities;
– Attempting to maintain a level of secrecy about the frequency/type of online activities (also in front of peers);
– Increased anxiety and depression after internet use or during time when internet access is not available;
-Increased frequency or intensity of offline behavioral difficulties often associated with internet use or absence of use;
– Spending time and effort to hide online activities;
– Taking increased risks with online behaviors;
-Showing these behaviors with regards to phone use.

Read Up More

Look up the Internet Addiction Screening Test-Adolescent Version by Delmonico, D.L., & Griffin, E.J. (2008). Cybersex and the E-Teen: What Marriage and Family Therapists Should Know. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 34 (4), 431- 444.

Don't Think Your Concern Is Not Worth Your Attention

The nature of problem behaviors is rooted in brain chemistry that needs to be attended to: The brain’s reward center gives the message “I want what I want [the internet, the phone, food, sex, porn, love] and I want this right now”. Let’s face it, we all can all have a strong urge to get something (ranging from a pair of shoes to the next gadget or bigger BBQ), and we all sometimes succumb to our desires. At the same time, if we needed to buy more shoes to feel better even if we maxed out our credit lines, our brain’s reward center got high-jacked and developed a pattern that does not go away on its own. To the contrary, problem behaviors bring about negative health outcomes such as anxiety, depression.

Move From Overwhelm To Focus And Clarity

This may feel overwhelming as you are reading this, but rest assured that there are professionals who are trained in providing specialized support and who can equip you with the tools so that you are not being negatively impacted by your loved one’s brain chemistry. You will be equipped to set healthy boundaries and assert yourself in an empathetic way – which is the way to not getting pulled down by your loved one’s struggles but instead becoming a witness of healthy change.

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