Kids are going on-line looking for information, entertainment and friendships. Just like drugs and alcohol,the Internet can become addictive to your kids. These Internet addictions can be anything to do with the Internet. Your children could be addicted to the Internet itself, chat rooms, instant messaging, or to particular websites. Here is a list of common Internet addictions for your kids and what they may include.
Your kids could be or could become addicted to the Internet. Internet Addiction is defined as any compulsive behavior related to the Internet. The Internet addiction can interfere with a normal life and harm the person’s relationships with family and off line friends. Addicts will think that their virtual world is more important then their real life world and their real life will suffer. Heavy usage of the Internet is considered to be more then 18 hours a week or about 3 hours per day. For your kids this would also include research for school reports.
On-line communities have some good value. It allows you to find people with your same interests either in your area or anywhere around the world. On the bad side though these same on-line communities not only pose a problem to your children’s safety they can also become an addiction. These on-line communities are very much like a private club, a place to go and find the friends you have always wanted or feel you want. For the child that may already be having some social problems this could become an addiction very easy. The child does not have to go out and find honest relationships with people. They can become any one they want on-line.
Chat rooms are also a way for your child to communicate with other people without leaving their home. The use of chat rooms can also become an addiction. Your child can use these in much the same way that they would form regular friendships but this time they can make the friendships without actually meeting someone. In on-line chat rooms you can be anyone you want to be and no one really knows the difference. For kids that may be having a problem making new friends this becomes the easier way. Chat rooms are available at any time and with a few clicks of the mouse you are chatting with a new “friend”. This becomes more of a reward leading to more of an addiction.
Instant messaging is an addiction much like the on-line communities and the chat rooms. With instant messaging your child most likely knows who they are instant messaging. These are usually friends they have just seen at school or neighbors they could go visit. Since meetings are not face to face it becomes easier to say and do things a person may not normally do. Your child may also instant message strangers who they have met on-line. Children who always need to be instant messaging or checking for a message may have an addiction that needs some attention.
Another common Internet addiction for your child could be on-line role playing games. These games are ones where you play with other people from around the world at a particular game. There are many of these games out there; they create a place for like minded people to play. The players can play a role as different characters and achieve different skills. The more they play the more advanced and skilled they become. This creates an attitude that they must play all the time creating an addiction.
There are many other Internet addictions that could harm your kids. For the very young kids in your home you should be monitoring where they go and how much time they spend on the Internet. As your kids get older you give them more freedom thus allowing for an addiction to be a problem. The Internet is a wonderful tool for learning and leisure if used in the correct way and with caution. Addictions are all over the place, keep an open line of communication and watch what your children do to help prevent the risks of an Internet addiction.