5 Signs That Your Child Is An Internet Addict

5 Signs That Your Child Is An Internet Addict

Words by Sasha Belani

 

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.

 

Sign #1: Mood Swings and Agitation

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.

Sign #2: Poor Personal Hygiene

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.

Sign #3: Feelings of Guilt and Dishonesty

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.

Sign #4: Your Child Becomes Withdrawn

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.

Sign #5: Frequent Dry, Red Eyes and Exhaustion

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.

Source: https://www.psycom.net/iadcriteria.html

Digital Wellness Has Arrived

Digital Wellness. A concept initially envisioned by healthcare experts, digital wellness is now on the lips of the world’s biggest tech players. But is it merely a buzzword, or does it seek to address a real growing problem in our tech-based society?

With each and every day, we’re being connected to one another at unprecedented rates.

Businesses are using technology to streamline operations and boost bottom lines. Overseas travellers can switch on FaceTime to talk to loved ones at home face-to-face. Students no longer need to lug around backbreaking backpacks; they can use a tablet to link up to perhaps the best encyclopaedia we have right now: the internet.

But too much of a good thing can be bad for you. In the case of technology (particularly the internet), experts and policymakers are concerned that they’re causing behavioural shifts on a global scale – referring what’s being dubbed as ‘tech addiction’.

Enter the concept of ‘Digital Wellness’. It is a global movement designed to strike a balance between technology and personal well-being. Simultaneously, it seeks to establish a holistic and unified approach to responsible internet consumption.

Our Insatiable Appetite for Connectivity

Now’s a good time to be alive. Today’s technology has liberated us and is empowering us to lead lives we previously would’ve never thought possible. More than half of the world is connected to the internet and smartphone usage is on a constant rise. It’s much easier for nearly everyone around the world to link up and consume content online.

But there’s a dark side to this consumption.

Online platforms – be they social networks, e-commerce sites or games – today are using persuasive and motivational techniques to bait its users. According to the World Health Organisation, these include:

Scarcity:

    a snap or status is only temporarily available; encouraging one to get online quickly

Social proof:

    thousands of users retweeted or shared an article, so you should go online and read it

Personalisation:

    news feeds are designed to filter and display content based on one’s interest. This often leads to the creation of ‘echo chambers’; and

Reciprocity:

    inviting more friends to a network to get extra points. It becomes harder for a person or their friends to leave once integrated into the network.

Do these tactics sound familiar to you? We spend enough of our waking hours using our devices whether for work or play. Apart from encouraging us to keep up-to-date (for fear of losing out in this faced-past internet age), such techniques tap into our innate desire to socialise. We’re just getting more used to doing it via our screens than in person.

With Great Wi-Fi Comes Great Responsibility

There’s nothing innately negative about using more of the internet in our daily routines. As with everything else, moderation is key. Using the internet more frequently but without responsibility not only makes us susceptible to be fired up by unverified news, it can also make us compulsive in our pursuit of updates.

For today’s baby boomers (and even millennials), we still remember a time when the internet isn’t as ubiquitous in everything as it is today. This isn’t the case with Generation Z; their youth and formative years have been shaped by the internet.

With the looming risk fostered by hyper-connectivity, even the world’s tech giants are worried that today’s tech is making us lose touch with reality.

On one hand, Apple recently announced controls that allow iOS users to monitor the time they spent on devices; as well as setting time limits on app use, controlling the level of distractions from notifications, and regulate children’s’ device usage.

On the other, Google is adding features to the Android OS the help users keep their smartphone usage in check. This includes a dashboard showing people just how much they’re spending time on devices and apps. The company is also introducing a ‘wind down mode’ – which is effectively a ‘do not disturb’ function that greys out the phone in the evening to prevent pre-bedtime distractions.

These efforts are good and show that technology’s come a long way, but they’re relying on devices to automatically keep our habits under control. It’s important to remember that they’re just tools which we can use.

What, then, can we do to raise our own agency in using technology responsibly?

Digital Detoxification

We’re letting technology tell us what to do, instead of the other way around. We’re being tethering to our devices and social media networks to the point that withdrawal may even cause anxiety, panic and even depression.

But like our computers, our brain needs to rest its processing power. It also needs a regular clearing-up of cache and junk data to operate smoothly.

Part of the popularity of digital wellness today is the trend of undergoing ‘digital detoxification’. While tech developers are creating more tools to help balance our device usage, the onus is really on us to control our connectivity.

This can be as simple as stashing your phone in your desk or bag or creating rules for yourself to not use it during mealtimes (as itchy as it may be for the foodie in you to not post your dish in Instagram). In this case, leaving your devices out of sight, out of mind can be beneficial.

And this detox doesn’t even need to take long. Even three days can help one lower their stress level and reliance on technology. What’s key is that one takes enough time away from their screens to begin appreciating the importance of balancing digital life with real life.

Conclusion: Taking Back Control of Technology

The internet has been one of the greatest socio-economic enablers over the past century and is showing no signs of slowing down.

But we humans are analogue creatures, not digital ones. There’s only so much information that we can take it at a time, and therefore it’s important to keep ourselves in check when it comes to using technology.

By establishing healthy guidelines and boundaries on our relationship with technology, digital wellness is for us to remind us humans that we’re the internet’s masters; not vice versa.

Reference: liveatpc.com/
Date: 30 August, 2018
Source: https://liveatpc.com/digital-wellness-has-arrived/