Teen Internet Addiction – Part 1
Posted on: November 30, 2012. Comments ( 3 )

Author: Chitra Aravind, Parent from Chettinad Vidyashram, Chennai
Consultant Psychologist - (RCI Certified)

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Apart from many different kinds of addictions, internet addiction especially “social networking sites addiction” has become a common phenomenon in this modern era. This problem is more pronounced among teens. In addition to many challenges to parenting, technology has made it even more a tougher task. Parents have to become more and more skilled to deal with their techno-savvy children. Nowadays, computer and internet have become basic necessity in almost everyone’s household. There is no chance of staying completely away from this era of internet Tsunami. While time spent online can be hugely productive, compulsive Internet use can interfere with daily life, work, and relationships. Parents cannot say ‘No’ to children or teens regarding internet usage, as it has become like a birth right for every teen due to various factors. Teens use internet to access information for school assignments, to chat with friends, to play online games etc. Moreover, teens find it very difficult to resist peer pressures and end up using social networking sites, similar to cigarette and alcohol addiction. Unlike physiological dependence in the case of alcohol and cigarette, this is a behavioral addiction. Even if parents strictly avoid/ban such usage, teens may still use it without their knowledge from their own mobile phones or at browsing centers or at school. Hence, it poses a great problem for the parents and only “Freedom with adequate supervision” can become the mantra for parents. Adolescence (10-19 years) is a crucial stage where they are more vulnerable and have to be monitored with extra caution by their parents.

Initially, children begin to use internet for playing games and as time passes, parents may still believe that their little kids are playing games, but in reality they would be watching sex sites and porno stuffs. The transition period from children to adolescent is rather fast and brings whole lot of changes physically and emotionally. Under the hormonal impact, teens become curious about sex. If they are not monitored regularly, these teens end up becoming addicted to internet. The signs of internet addiction are:

  • Getting irritated and cranky when their online time is interrupted
  • Preoccupied with internet – seem to be distracted, irritable or disinterested/bored
  • Difficulty in completing home works
  • Getting defensive or secretive when others check them online
  • Declining grades at school coupled with internet usage
  • Lack of communication with parents
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Avoiding family functions and parties
  • Seen happy and excited only when online
  • Spending money on computer related items

Risk Factors

  • Age : 10-19
  • Any device (mobile, tablet, Ipad, computer etc) with internet connection privately accessible by the teens
  • Nuclear family and both parents working
  • Teens left lonely at home due to many reasons
  • Lack of communication with teens

There are many adverse consequences of using internet unwisely. Let us see the reason behind this kind of addiction and also tips for the parents and teens to get rid of this unhealthy habit.

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……by Chitra Aravind, Consultant Psychologist – (RCI Certified), Parent from Chettinad Vidyashram, Chennai.

Other articles from Chitra Aravind:

1. How to teach discipline to your child?
2. Quality Time

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Comments (3)


    Chitra says:

    But from the way the forum is quiet regarding this serious topic..i seriously doubt if any such negative influence of Internet is present in every households with teenagers??! parents, kindly comment..

    Chitra says:

    children are influenced by 2 major sources like parents, and school (friends and teachers) ..if teenagers values are strongly inculcated from childhood itself..monitoring is not imp. since they know for themselves what is right n wrong..but this ideal condition is hard to achieve..hence, the disciplining should start from home..we cannot keep expecting the schools to do this!

    Parents have to invest time n energy to safeguard their children from such influences//

    sivakumar b says:

    Dear Madam,
    You have opened up a very serious topic. While the usage of internet has become a mandatory part of studies, existence in social networking sites is a matter of real concern.. Supervision is possible but not 24*7.. Many schools create awareness among the children especially in vulnerable age, about the disadvantages of such networks.. In fact, students of age 10 to 16 /18 should not even get into them..Schools can even warn the students or even make it a rule to refrain from being there, in the best interests of the Children and parents.. Will school managements hear the voice of helpless parents ???

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