What Parents Need to Know About Teenage Internet Addiction - TechAddiction

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What Parents Need to Know About Teenage Internet Addiction


By Adeline Cid, Guest Contributor to TechAddiction

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of TechAddiction and/or Dr. Conrad.


As technology evolves and changes our lives, everything gets an upgrade, making us rely more and more on computers and the Internet to help with our tasks, do our shopping, and ask our parents how they’re doing with their new smartphones. Almost everybody knows how to use the computer now, even little kids. The young ones are easy to monitor though, but not so with teenagers.

Teenagers who spend copious amounts of time on the computer (and won’t come down for dinner, not even to greet Gramps when he comes visiting), whether online or not may be in the early stages of tech addiction. This is something more than simply playing online games; if not acted on immediately it may result in more serious problems.

Abuses of technology

Technology helps to make our lives easier, but when its use becomes detrimental to any aspect of our lives, it’s time to rethink how we use it. As parents, we must guide our teens on the healthy use and limits of technology. But how can we do it when our teens know more about it than we do? In order to understand, it would be good for parents to educate themselves.

The following includes the most common forms of cyber addiction:

  • Addiction to Internet pornography. Teens are in the stage of development when they become curious about their sexuality. Their exploration may lead them to pornographic materials available on the Internet. This may not only misguide them on the proper approach to the subject of sexuality but also plays with their vulnerability. Thus, chances of them being victimized by sexual predators that roam online are very high.


  • Addiction to social networks. While keeping in touch with friends and family is a good thing, social networks also present danger if not used with care. Parents should remind their teens not to post personal information online and set their security settings. This social activity can lure strangers and endanger their lives without their knowledge.


  • Cyber game addiction. Computer games nowadays have become visually and intellectually stimulating. If you have tried a game or two, you would know that they indeed are very fun to play, especially for teens. Too much gaming however, can lead to obsession or even an addiction. Teenagers addicted to games may also develop low self-esteem and self-confidence, not to mention the lack of social interaction and communication with families and friends, potentially increasing the risk of depression.


Dangers of Cyber Addiction

Addiction to the computer and the Internet can be very harmful to the development of teens. Because it takes much of their time, they have no more time to personally socialize with family and friends. They may become anti-social or ill-equipped to interact in-person with the rest of the world.

Teen addiction to video games can also cause teenagers to lose their focus on their studies. They may begin to skip classes in order to play, and would do anything to be able to keep on playing. Tech addiction can interfere with teens’ educational progress and personal growth, leading to poor grades and serious academic difficulties.

Tech addiction can also affect their health. The strong compulsion to go on the Internet or play video games can lead to skipped meals and very poor sleep habits. Sitting in front of a computer for hours, teens neglect physical activities that are essential for staying healthy.

The danger to our kids is clear but we should not view the Internet as an enemy. Remember, technology is good so long as it’s not abused. For example, parents may even find themselves going online to find advice from experts or support from other parents when trying to help a teen with an unhealthy obsession with the Internet or computer games. There are many online sites (such as TechAddiction.ca) that offer guidance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

References:

Addiction Treatment Tips: Cyber Addiction Treatment Tips;
[http://addiction-treatment-tips.com/cyber-addiction-treatment-tips.php]

“Forbes”; Internet Addiction: The New Mental Health Disorder?; Alice G. Wagner; Oct., 2012.;
[http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/10/02/the-new-mental-health-disorder-Internet-addiction/]

Helpguide.org: Computer and Internet Addiction;
[http://www.helpguide.org/mental/Internet_cybersex_addiction.htm]

Guest Author Bio

Adeline Cid is a freelance writer, and the mother of three children. She writes part-time about parenting topics like the management of teenage addiction for The Family Compass.

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