Starting 2021 on the right foot: Ensure your digital wellbeing in the year ahead
Behavioral Shaping, Digital Wellness, featured, mental health, physical health, social media
Is your child constantly glued to the screen? Do you find them isolating themselves from the family to spend more time on the computer? Do they always look tired?
If your answer is yes to all the questions above, your child may be suffering from internet addiction. Once considered a “hoax” disorder, internet addiction has gained traction in recent years as more researchers and medical professionals have found that the effects of this disorder can be seriously debilitating, especially in young children and teenagers.
However, for some parents, it can be difficult to distinguish between heavy internet usage and internet addiction. After all, in this day and age, it’s impossible to get any work done without going online.
Another concern faced by parents is that they don’t want their children to be left behind when it comes to being savvy on the computer. With digitalization having become so strongly integrated into today’s working environment, children will have to grow and be technologically proficient to enter the workforce.
Even though these concerns are legitimate, the gravity of internet addiction cannot be ignored. Keep an eye out for these signs if you suspect your child’s internet usage is shifting towards something more dangerous.
Internet addiction may result in feelings of euphoria when online and despair when your child is asked to log off. This sharp twist in their mood, coupled with feelings of agitation when they are told not to go online might be a sign of internet addiction.
Do you find your child forgoes frequent bathing or even basic personal care just so that they can stay online longer? If yes, this may be a strong indicator that your child’s internet usage is becoming unhealthy.
Children know when they’re doing something wrong. With internet addiction, they may just feel helpless and unable to stop. This turn can lead them to lie about their computer time and breeds feelings of guilt. If your child looks uneasy or scared when you ask them about their online activities, it might be time to have a serious conversation with them and address the issue.
One of the most common signs of internet addiction is withdrawal and isolation. Your child might normally be happy to spend time with you and go on trips with the rest of the family, but lately you’ve seen them rush to their room after dinner to be alone or they interact less with the family and choose to stay glued on their social media accounts. These are worrying signs that should prompt you to check-in with your child and talk to them about their internet usage.
The body rarely lies, so look at your child’s physical health if you’re worried about internet addiction. Staying up late to play video games will cause dry and red eyes as will spending the whole night scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, so be on the lookout for these physical signs of exhaustion.
While this list of signs is only for educational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice, knowing these signs can give you an idea of what to look out for if you suspect your child’s online activities are becoming unhealthy.
However, there are some steps you can take to prevent unhealthy habits from growing into something worse. Firstly, talk to your child about their internet usage and let them understand why you’re worried about them. Having your child acknowledge that their gaming or online habits are unhealthy is the first step towards healing.
Secondly, try using Audra HomeShieldthat to control internet usage. Completely shutting online access is not recommended, but studies have shown that having controls in place can also help your child self-correct their behavior. It’s rather practical to block unwanted sites and long access to ensure a balanced online & offline life.