We are living in an advanced age where you can access almost anything through the internet. There are benefits in the advancements of technology as they make our lives easier and more comfortable. However, technological advances also have their pitfalls. One such pitfall is internet addiction, which is a prevalent issue right now.
What Is Internet Addiction?
Excessive and problematic use of the internet often characterizes internet addiction. With the increasing number of studies about this area, many experts are beginning to consider internet addiction a legitimate mental health concern.
You might have internet addiction if your internet use negatively affects your quality of life. Having difficulty retaining or creating relationships is another symptom. Affected day-to-day functioning depending on internet use is yet another.
Excessive use of the internet can negatively impact your child’s physical health. They can develop body pains such as headaches, neck pain, and backaches. Internet addiction can also lead to different mental health concerns like eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Internet addiction is prevalent in the youth sector as they have more technological knowledge. They also use the internet for more things apart from school. Without proper regulation and management, children will develop internet addiction.
Symptoms Of Internet Addiction
The symptoms of internet addiction can manifest either physically or emotionally. As a parent, you have to monitor the occurrence of these symptoms and take action immediately.
Physical symptoms of internet addiction may include:
- Bodily pains like headaches, backaches, and neck pain
- Sleep-related problems like insomnia
- Poor nutrition leading to either massive gain or loss of weight
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Vision problems like dry eyes
Compared to the physical symptoms, emotional symptoms are harder to notice as children can hide them. Emotional symptoms of internet addiction may include:
- Dishonesty about internet use to friends, family members, and even mental health professionals
- Voluntary isolation or seclusion and choosing to refrain from socializing with family members or friends
- Agitation and aggression, especially when unable to access the internet
- Exhibits signs of anxiety and depression
How Can Counseling Address Internet Addiction?
Counseling or psychotherapy can help a child overcome internet addiction. Many forms of counseling are proven to help children with internet addiction, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, and family therapy.
The goal of the counseling is to address their addiction properly. The counselor looks into what led the child to excessively using the internet.
Here are some other ways how counseling can address internet addiction in children:
- Motivate the child to reduce the use of the internet. Make the child realize how their behavior can affect other members of the household.
- Identify the triggers that lead to the excessive use of the internet. These triggers can be a person, place, thing, or series of events that push someone to become addicted to the internet.
- Determine healthier alternatives. With a counselor’s advice, the family can schedule activities throughout the day to encourage your child to be away from the internet.
- Set realistic internet use goals. This can be in the form of setting maximum hours your child can spend on the internet for a day. Blocking sites that fuel excessive use of the internet is also a possible alternative.
The counselor can also encourage members within the household to track and record the time spent on the internet each day. This helps track the progress and address the issue.
- Help the child develop good healthy habits to replace the negative habits related to internet use.
How Can You Help With Your Child’s Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction is an issue that must be faced as a family. Thus, as an adult, you have a role to play in your child’s success in overcoming their internet addiction. You can do supplementary practices further to assure the steady and consistent progress of your child.
Such practices may include:
- Setting boundaries and giving rewards.
Many parents take away their child’s gadgets as punishment when they see that they are becoming addicted. This practice would only make your child think that they are bad. They might start acting rebellious, which would only exacerbate the problem instead of addressing them.
You can implement reasonable boundaries and rules in the household regarding their use of the internet. You can give rewards when you see that they follow the rules and stick to the allotted time given them. Positive reinforcement would encourage your child to form good habits and drop the bad ones.
- Changing the location of your child’s computer.
Instead of placing the computer in your child’s room, place it in a central place in your house. The location must ensure that you can monitor your child’s activities. Situating your child’s computer outside of their room will stop your child’s tendency to spend long hours using the internet.
- Being proactive and learning to use technology.
Your kid can be more advanced in using technology, but that must not stop you from helping them overcome their addiction. You have to be proactive and learn the basic things about technology so you can relate more to your child.
Technology and the internet are helpful tools we use in our daily lives. Using them is never bad on its own. Internet addiction in children may affect poor regulation or a way for your children to cope with existing issues.
What’s important is that professionals can address internet addiction. It’s a condition that you can solve with a proper and proactive mindset.