Furthermore, how do we know when we or our children need a break?
Dr. Kimberly Young, director at the Center for Internet Addiction and Recovery, provides the following warning signs for too much online gaming/chatting/social media:
- Loses track of time while online
- Sacrifices needed hours of sleep to spend time online
- Becomes agitated or angry when online time is interrupted
- Checks email several times a day
- Becomes irritable if not allowed access to the Internet
- Spends time online using games or social media in place of homework or chores
- Prefers to spend time online rather than with friends or family
- Disobeys time limits that have been set for internet usage
- Lies about amount of time spent online or “sneaks” online when no one is around
- Forms new relationships with people he or she has met online
- Seems preoccupied with getting back online when away from the computer
- Loses interest in activities that were enjoyable before he or she had online access
- Becomes irritable, moody or depressed when not online
Sounds familiar? I am guilty of a few of these myself!
Should I be insanely alarmed or should I simply be aware?
Awareness is where all of this begins!
So, what can you do as a parent if you feel your child is over doing it with online time?
Dr. Kimberly Young offers us more information below:
Address the problem:
- It is critical that all adults in the home present a united front.
- All adults in the house must agree on common goals.
- Discuss the situation together so that when you approach your child, you have a united front.
- Without a united front, the child will appeal to the more skeptical individual thus causing a fight among adults in the household.
- A single parent needs to be ready for an emotional reaction when first discussing the situation.
- As a single parent, it is critical that you not respond with emotion.
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings but stay focused on the topic of his or her internet use.
Show you care:
- Approach this sensitive situation by showing you care.
- Share your concerns about the changes you have seen in behavior.
- Explain the changes clearly: fatigue, declining grades, giving up hobbies, social withdrawal, etc.
- Set up an internet time log for a week to track how much time your child does spend online.
- Put your child on the honor system to keep the log themselves for a week or two to build trust.
Become more computer-savvy:
- Check history folders and internet logs
- Learn about monitoring software
- Installing filters to block inappropriate websites
Set reasonable rules:
- Taking the Internet devices away completely will not solve the problem
- Put the cell phone, tablet or computer away upon arriving at home.
- No social media or cell phone until after all homework is complete.
- Allow an hour per night after homework.
- Allow for a few extra weekend hours.
Make the computer visible– Move your child’s personal computer out of his or her bedroom.