It is a question that may come in your mind when you see your children and their modern devices. Your children are always online: this is true and you have to deal with it day after day. Whenever you look at them, they’re doing something with their smartphones, tablets, PCs. So when should you start talking about teens Internet Addiction and worry about their health?
A Validated Internet Addiction Test
Fortunately there is a test, but I suggest you to let Professionals to use it. Misconception is always on the way when we talk about borderline issues and problems.
While you can check it here, there is a snapshot of key questions I suggest to focus on when checking if your children experience Internet or video game addiction:
- How often do your children neglect household chores to spend more time online?
- How often do they prefer the excitement of the Internet to their friends?
- How often do their grades or school work suffer because of the amount of time they spend online?
- How often do they become defensive or secretive when you ask them what they do online?
- How often you see they block out disturbing thoughts about their life with soothing thoughts of the Internet?
- How often do they feel depressed, moody, or nervous when they are off-line, which goes away once they are back online?
If you see lots of these questions positive, then you need an objective measurement about your teen's actual Internet time before you decide that they need some help with their Internet addiction.
Internet Addiction or just a Modern Lifestyle?
Before going panic you want to discern the real Teen Internet Addiction from the standard use of the devices. The latter may differ from what you adult think is the “standard use”.
We are used to think about these modern devices as tools that serve us for a purpose. Furthermore we are used to discern an Offline Life from an Online Life.
Children view their online and offline life as one and this perception difference might confuse and lead to misunderstanding.
How do your teens may spend their online time?
Here you are some examples:
- teens use instant messaging apps even when they are close to each other
- they use their Facebook account to send a research link to...their secondary Facebook account “so that I don’t lose it”
- they use WhatsApp to talk about their homeworks
- they replace our traditional TV with video platforms (i.e.: YouTube)
- they read books on WattPad
- they stay up to date with their interests with Blogs, Instagram, Snapchat
As you can see modern devices like smartphones or tablets are multipurpose, so your children use them for a wide range of tasks, and most of them are really useful!
How about Internet Game Addiction?
Modern online games have strong social features your children need to master in order to succeed the game. Most of them have an internal chat, and I saw teenagers opening their Clash of Clans app in order to ask a classmate about their homework (they are in the same clan). Your children test their social skills there, too.
And your teens are always on their devices... but can we talk about Teens' Internet and Gaming Addictions?
Here you need the objective measurement of how much time your teens spend online, for it’s easy to have a wrong perception about it.
Great Tool for Objective Addiction Assessment
Child monitoring software by Familoop is a solid tool to monitor your teens' online activity and keep note of the real time your children spend online.
Even more, with Familoop Safeguard you know where your children spend their online activity on Windows PC, Mac or Android devices, what programs they frequently use. That is a great plus of having child monitoring software on computers, smartphones and tablets is that you have useful data to detect red flags of your teens' Internet and game addictions early and prevent it. If things get serious and it seems that your teen needs help of a Professional with their Internet or game addiction this data might also help.