Nowadays kids ages 8 to 22 spend an average of 11 hours a day, seven days a week with media. This means that it will be 77 hours per week, nearly twice as many hours as their parents put into full-time jobs. A heavy internet user is defined as someone who is online for at least 14 hours per week, in case if you are wondering whether this category includes you, it does.
The internet provides a lot of different things to a lot of different people which might draw their attention and unknowingly they spend more time than usual. But it’s a machine which lets you tap into whatever stimuli your neurons are itching for. The worst case scenario is that you would create your own little hermetically sealed world and drop into it.
For most of the kids and teens, their online use is relatively well managed because they balance media use with school, friends, sports, and other commitments. Yet for a small percentage of youth, the need to be online can become compulsive, pathological, or uncontrolled, this type of maladaptive behavior is sometimes called internet addiction.
Therefore, we state that there is definitely a line between heavy use and addiction when it comes to the internet and it is pretty clear when someone crosses it. Some addicted users develop a compulsive need to be online that interferes with their daily activities, their relationships, and their health.
Even though researchers far from fully understand the cause and effect of the relationship between internet use and maladaptive behavior, there is some evidence which suggests that the risk to youth for developing these issues is much greater and effective than it is for older users.
It is the responsibility of parents in understanding the difference between normal internet use and compulsive use which is critically important for knowing when to seek help for concerning behavior. Internet usage naturally flows to accommodate other activities and interests among healthy internet users. If you are unsure of whether your child or teen falls into this category, then compare their behavior to the list of warning signs below.
Sings of compulsive internet usage:
Keep in mind that many of the behaviors in the list below can occur with normal use and context, but for many these signs might be signs your child is developing an addiction:
-Preoccupied with the device in using the internet.
-Failed attempts to control behavior like aggressive behavior
-Sacrifices sleep to spend more time online
-Checks notifications and messages compulsively throughout the day.
-Prefers to spend time online rather than with family and friends.
You need to check if any of the signs mentioned above suits your child. If yes, you need to start taking precautions to help reduce internet usage.