The Internet is one of the most revolutionary discoveries in the history of technology and has no boundaries as to how it can be utilized. It facilitates social interaction, sharing information, online shopping, managing finances, running businesses, playing music, and much more.
Indeed, among today’s adolescents, internet surfing has become the most popular and common leisure activity. The majority of adolescents spend time on the internet scrolling through social media, playing video games, watching videos, and engaging in other on-screen activities.
Internet And Gaming Obsession In Teens
Even though experts from different disciplines suggest the internet can cause addiction, they do not consider it a mental disorder. This is because cyber-addiction does not affect their brains in the same way as drugs or alcohol would. However, these addictions can have a negative impact on their lives.
So, in this article, I set out to discuss symptoms, risks, and treatment for cyber addiction. In this article, I set out to discuss symptoms, risks, and treatment for cyber addiction.
Signs And symptoms
Most teens depend on the internet as a coping mechanism, making them more vulnerable to internet addiction. Internet addiction is excessive or compulsive usage of the internet, which is characterized by a loss of interest in everyday activities and poor mental and behavioral habits. Some of the red flags of internet addiction in teenagers include:
- Having increased screen time and hiding how long they have been using the internet from parents or friends.
- Putting the internet over other activities that include ignoring personal hygiene, avoiding time with friends and family, or skimping on eating and sleeping.
- Resistance to cutting back on screen time even after parents have given warnings.
- Increased obsession with checking social media and posting updates.
- Displaying irritability and agitation without the internet and constantly asking for a longer screen time.
Risks Of Cyber Addiction
With excessive internet addiction, many physical and mental issues develop in adolescents. These factors then expose the teens to difficult situations where they have to put up with cyberbullying, online affairs, and illicit content. Here are the major risks of cyber addiction:
➜ Loss of personal relationships outside the Internet:
This has been reported by most parents whose kids are addicted to social media. The kids are more interested in developing friendships and relationships over the internet than keeping the existing ones. This can also increase the chances of falling into fraud or traps.
➜ Lower performance at school:
Dependency on social media and video games can stimulate the functioning of the brain, making it hard for them to take breaks or focus on other things. That is spending more time on the internet gives them less time to concentrate on academics. As a result, these teens often score low grades at school.
➜ Development of mood disorders:
Recent studies have shown a higher incidence of anxiety and depression among teens who use the internet for longer periods than moderate users. They are also prone to developing obsessive-compulsive behaviors, as most kids who are addicted to the internet have difficulty controlling the urge to check the internet constantly and limiting its usage.
➜ Deteriorating health due to unhealthy practices:
Adolescents often push everything else in their lives aside in order to stay online or play video games. This wards off their sleeping and eating urges, leading to severe health problems such as nutrient deficiency and insomnia.
There are a few steps that can be adopted by both parents and their teenagers to fight internet addiction.
- The first step in treating internet addiction is to admit that the problem exists and to talk about it. Parents should notice the changes and tell kids that they are concerned for their well-being without attacking them.
- The next step is to contact the teen’s physician about the symptoms and the treatment. They would probably suggest medications and therapy to suppress the symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Cyber addiction is becoming more common worldwide with the advancement of technology. Although the internet can be a great way to access information and stay connected with society, it is crucial to make sure it does not become addictive.
If your teens are exhibiting signs of addiction, it is necessary to talk to them and encourage them to seek medical intervention. This can help teens get back on track with their normal lives, fight internet addiction, and develop healthier internet habits.