Nov 13, 2012


boy on computerOne of the challenges kids face today is Internet addiction. Children who once lived for activities with friends, reading books, or watching TV are finding themselves addicted to the Internet, trapped in a mindset that places virtual activities above homework, real life social interaction, and even sleep.

 Many parents are searching for ways to help their children combat the intense desire to spend time online instead of in the real world. An Indian news article offers advice for parents who want to know if their children are computer addicts and how to deal with the addiction if it exists.

Your children might be suffering with an addiction to the Internet if they seem anxious or absentminded when not using a computer, have lost interest in activities they previously enjoyed, stay up late to play games online or be on social networking sites, have irregular sleep patterns, have more virtual friends than real life friends, or neglect important school work to be online.

If your children are suffering from an Internet addiction, first try finding out if they are spending so much time online to escape a problem. Those who are lonely, sad, bored, or angry will often go online to be distracted from their feelings. Move computers to a common area of the house and consider placing restrictions on where mobile devices that connect to the Internet can be used. Set a password for the computer so children cannot access the Internet without permission. Programs that help parents limit the time their kids can spend online are exceptionally helpful.

There are some creative steps parents can take to keep their children’s online time reasonable in length. Mentioned by the news article are: Game Time Limit, an app that sets off an alarm when time limits have been reached on iPads/iPhones; MathLanders, a website that exchanges taking math quizzes for Internet access; and Minor Monitor, an app that tracks Facebook activities. A more traditional option, time controls from Net Nanny are a great tool as well.

No matter what steps you take, know that there is hope. Be a role model and limit your own computer time. Ask for help if you need it. Use your resources and your children will be on the road to recovery from their Internet addiction in no time.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Melody Zurawski