Teens are emotional and compulsive; there are many times in their life when they choose the wrong paths to deal with their issues. Sometimes they choose not to talk to someone, not to meet people, not to hang out with friends, and usually, these actions end in them sticking to their mobile phones. The use of smartphones means chatting, calling, and using the internet too much.
Internet is like a fantasy place for kids. They seek entertainment, find new people, connect with them, and have fun in all the ways possible. When they decide that they don’t want to keep up their relationships in real life, they turn to the internet and end up being addicted to it. This addiction is just any other substance addiction and it has similar effects as that. It is very hard for teens to turn away from the internet once they have started using it.
Studies have been conducted that showed that kids of ages 16,17, and 18 are more prone to compulsive internet use especially when they are alone. While they might be enjoying their lives there, having fun, sharing with other people, but when it becomes addictive, it becomes dangerous. Internet addiction can further lead to social media addiction, gaming addiction, and other related addictions. Most parents turn to the app to track text messages and other online activities of their kids to know what’s going on in their lives.
Why Would Teens Be Lonely?
Teens often choose loneliness due to smaller to big issues. They can choose to be lonely if they fight with their friends if they have been bullied by someone in the school, if they have experienced any trauma, or if their family environment is irritating. In such cases, kids being lonely is a very common thing and it often leads them to the smartphone and the internet.
Right now, we have a very common situation of COVID-19 where everyone is still locked in their houses. This is a hard time for kids as well as adults. They can’t go to school, can’t hang out with their friends, and are unable to do outdoor activities. In this situation, they are lonelier than ever and this brings their attention to smartphones. The use of smartphones leads to internet use and it further leads to addiction. This addiction never goes off and the kids get used to having their life on the internet and social media. Even if they get to go out now, they will still get used to the online world.
Signs of Internet Addiction in Kids
Most parents don’t realize the minor changes going on in their kids. They usually ignore these changes and the thought of their kids being addicted to the internet never crosses their minds. To them, the internet is a source of knowledge, information, and entertainment for their kids. Little do they know that their kids will turn into some monsters once they turn off the WIFI. Before it happens, you need to look for the signs of internet addiction in your kids. You can start looking when you notice them glued to their mobile phones all day. Here are some of the signs of internet addiction in teens:
- Your kids can hardly care about their hygiene. They don’t change clothes, their fashion sense is lost, they are okay being in their pajamas all day, and they don’t listen to you when you advise them about it.
- Their sleeping and eating habits have changed significantly. They stay awake for too long to use their mobile phones thus doing things on the internet.
- The time spends on the internet by the kids is increasing day by day. They check their mobile phones first in the morning, during the day, and last before they sleep.
- If you block their access to the internet, smartphone, tablet, or laptop, you can see clear signs of irritability and anxiety.
- They have isolated themselves from their peer group. They like their smartphones more than their friends.
- Whenever they are angry, restless, or upset about anything, you see them turning towards their smartphones as an escape rather than solving the situation.
- They often see avoiding the things they should be doing such as house chores, school homework, or the after-school job just to spend more time on the internet.
- They don’t admit that they are spending time on the internet. They often lie about what they are doing on their smartphones.
If you look closely, you will observe that the symptoms and signs of internet addiction are very much similar to those of substance abuse disorder. Though parents overlook the signs of internet addiction because they think that their teens are just being teens, but if the signs get intense, there are much higher chances that they won’t ever be able to get over it.
What Must Parents Do?
If you have seen the signs of internet addiction in your teens, you must do something about it. It is high time that your teens should understand that there is life outside the internet and social media. Here are some of the tips to be followed by the parents:
- Take away their loneliness. If they are lonely, they are likely to spend time on the internet and thus it can lead to addiction. Spend some time with them, have them spend time with their friends, and increase their activities. The more you keep them engaged, the lesser they will look for the escape. Follow some effective positive parenting tips to raise your kids better.
- Monitor them. Monitoring might not be the solution for many parents but it is the time when parents need to realize that monitoring is necessary. If you know what they have been doing on the internet and smartphone, you can make sure that their mental health is secured.
For monitoring, you need good monitoring software. Mobistealth is the best parenting app that can give you the liberty of knowing what your kid is up to and how is he doing on the internet. You can know if the use of the internet is turning in to addiction and if it is necessary to do something about it
With teens, you always have to be very careful and engaged. The more you know them, the better you can protect them.
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