Psychological and Physical Signs and Symptoms
If you are worried that your teen may be suffering from an unhealthy addiction to the Internet, there are many physical and mental warning signs to watch for. Many of these symptoms are very similar to those of depression and anxiety, another very serious condition affecting teens today. If you feel your teen is suffering from depression, please visit Sue Scheff™'s web resource on teen depression and anxiety.
Feelings of intense happiness and euphoria while using the Internet, and feelings of depression, anxiety or irritability if away from the computer
Cravings for the Internet - Never having enough time with it
Neglecting family and friends - spending more time with the computer and less time doing activities previously enjoyed.
Getting behind on homework or school activities
Lying about what they are doing while online
Complains of dry eyes
Complains of Headaches
Complains of Backaches
Changes in eating habits such as skipping meals or over eating
Neglect of personal hygiene
Problems with sleep
What Should Parents Do?
Examine your Internet habits. Do you spend too much time in front of the screen? The habits of you and your family impact your teen. Be a good role model!
Look for the above warning signs, and take action if you feel your teen may be at risk. Seek professional help.
Always keep the computer in a common area of the home where it can be monitored by you.
DO NOT BAN THE INTERNET. Instead, work with your teen on a time schedule that feels fair to the both of you.
Encourage social activity outside of the Internet. Because chatting, emails, and other online social media make it easy for teens to stay at home, open the door to more outside activity. Plan events with friends and family.