Addiction is one of the hardest struggles of many young adult lives, and it has become sneakier than ever before. Now, addiction does not always look like drug dealers or underage drinking, it can look like something as harmless as being on the internet more often than is healthy. Here we will go over simple ways to figure out whether your child is truly addicted to the internet, and how to help them if they are!
1. Does your child actually have an addiction?
It can be easy to feel like your child spends way too much time on the computer, but a true internet addiction goes deeper than that. Warning signs include insomnia and missing days at work or school to spend more time on the addiction. Here is a great assessment to see whether your child’s internet use is actually an addiction, or simply a young adult enjoying the tools of this day and age.
2. Levels of help – what does your child need?
There are varying levels of addiction, and as a result, varying levels of intervention. There is even a rehab facility especially for teens with internet addictions, but most cases can be dealt with in your own home. The best things you can do are be engaged in their online world, have open conversations about what they are doing online, and have clear rules about media usage with consequences. Check out their timelines and profiles, and take the time to see what is there. Teens who know their parents are involved in their online world are less likely to be troubled if something becomes a problem, and are more ready to approach their parents for help with it. Make sure they know that if they break the rules, such as preventing you from seeing posts or using technology when they are not supposed to, they risk having negative consequences.
3. Be a safe place to go when things go awry.
Wherever humans are, evil can lurk, and it is important your children know you are a safe place to turn to if things go wrong. Make sure that they know that, whatever happens to them online, you are a safe refuge for them. Be ready to listen to their concerns and comfort them when needed, and give sound advice if a situation becomes complicated.
Now, you can approach your children about their tech use in a straightforward and well-informed manner, so that all of you can use the Internet as the incredible tool it is, without risking an underlying addiction.