Online Chat: Is Your Teen Addicted?

by Barbara J. Feldman on February 13, 2008

If you have a teenager and an Internet accessible computer, chances are your teenager is spending time in some sort of on-line chat room. These chat rooms allow for your children to meet new friends without leaving home. Your teenager can be as truthful as they want to be. It is easier to be someone else while on-line because there is no face to face contact, thus making it very anonymous. This is why it is easy for your teen to become addicted to on-line chat rooms. Not only are they making friends from all over the world but they can also be more outgoing while chatting.

Some warning signs that your teenager may indeed be addicted to the Internet can include any of the following symptoms or behaviors.

Your teenager is preoccupied with the Internet. They are always on the Internet in some type of chat room. It’s the last thing they do before leaving for school and the first thing they do when they arrive back home.

Your teenager talks more about Internet friends and chat rooms then they do about friends from school or the neighborhood.

One or two hours a day in a chat room is not sufficient enough for your teenager. They get upset if you tell them to be on the Internet less.

Your teenager gets more satisfaction from being on the Internet and in chat rooms then they do with the other things in their life.

Staying on-line longer then usual is also a major sign of an addiction. If you have time limits, this is easy to monitor. If you do not have time limits and think that your teenager may have a chat room addiction then you should set a time limit. Monitor how long they are on the Internet and if they are upset that they had to get off before they may have been done chatting.

If your teenager is staying on the chat room sites at the risk of their education. This would be spending time chatting instead of doing their homework, or not doing it well enough. You will also begin to see their grades decline as the addiction gets worse.

If you find your teenager lying more and more to you or other family members then your teenager may be addicted to chat rooms. This is true if they also lie to friends about being able to go out.

If you feel your teenager may be using chat rooms to escape other problems they have in their life you may be right in thinking there is an addiction. This could be anything from a fight with friends or other school problems. It’s not so bad to escape every once in awhile but when it becomes a habit and you don’t see your child trying to overcome the problem then you may be looking at an addiction.

If you feel your teenager is using the chat rooms to gain information that may be harmful to them then they may have an addiction. Monitor their usage of the chat rooms and try to talk to your teenager before making any big assumptions as to what is going on.

In a survey of 17,000 teenagers, six percent meet the standards for being addicted. The teenagers said that they use the Internet and specifically chat rooms as a way to escape negative feelings. Students are most susceptible to becoming addicted because of their stresses and as a teenager all the other life problems that they can have. This can become alarming to parents as they try to raise their teenagers. Making sure you monitor your teenagers on-line no matter what they do will help prevent addictions from becoming a problem. If your teenager is addicted to chat rooms there are books to help overcome the addiction and even counseling.

This article is not meant to replace the help of a certified professional. If you suspect addictions of any kind, consult your healthcare provider.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Online Chat: Is Your Teen Addicted?." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 13 Feb. 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1334/online-chat-is-your-teen-addicted/ >.