Online messaging has been called “kiddie crack” and online gaming has been compared with video games. The epidemic of childhood obesity has been linked to the rise in childhood bullying. youth internet addiction was identified as the main culprit.
Any good parent will dump the computer with the trash and place a ban on online activities. Then, start looking in the attic for the Monopoly set.
It doesn’t require you to ban internet and video gaming from your children. It is about effectively managing what, where and when your children are playing.
This means that if you are able to help your children navigate the internet responsibly and learn how to play games, then you will have an important point of entry into their world. You’ll lose any chance to influence their behavior if you try to ban the almost universal devices.
It’s easier said than done. It depends on your family’s unique dynamics. Read on to learn how to transform tech-obsessed children into contributing, healthy members of your family.
1. Spend some time online
If you are like most parents today, your childhood was likely spent less time with technology. You’ll be playing catch-up when it comes technology and youth. So you need to get moving.
Create an Instagram account and a Facebook profile if you haven’t done so already. Spend some time on YouTube, play a few online games, and create an Instagram Account.
This may seem like a waste or intimidating task depending on how you relate to computers. However, you will be better able to communicate with your children about the internet and what they should do.
Many social media platforms, including those that are large and popular, offer parental controls.
2. Educate yourself
You will gain many insights from your online experiences, but you must also increase your knowledge of the risks as well as the benefits that internet use by youth is bringing to you. Talk to your friends, read the research and consult with experts.
No matter your level of expertise there is always more to be learned. You need to be active to keep up to date with the latest issues that face your children.
3. Talk to Your Children
Your expectations will not be known by your children if you don’t communicate with them. In the case of parent-child communication it is always wise to avoid too much talking.
Even if your children don’t have the interest in the internet yet, you can start the conversation by discussing rules and limits with them. Talk to them about their internet experiences, even if they are already experts.
Children shouldn’t be allowed to spend too much time in front of screens. You have the responsibility to monitor their behavior and to set reasonable limits based on your circumstances.
4. Listen to Your Children
Communication must be two-way. You must create a safe environment where your children feel comfortable talking to you in order to allow you to observe what they are thinking, doing, feeling, or worrying about.
Communication is not about having a formal conversation. It’s about starting a discussion about a problem before it becomes a problem, and then continuing to listen, learn, and listen.
5. Monitor their Computer Activity
Trust but verify, is the old saying. These suggestions will help you manage your children’s internet usage:
- You should ensure that your children’s online activities are done in a place you can easily see, such as the living room desk. Your children shouldn’t be able to access the internet behind closed doors.
- Limit screen time per day to a maximum of 30 minutes.
- Keep your children’s rooms free from TVs and consoles for video games. Limit your children’s internet usage to the times and places you are able to observe.
- Know the screen names and passwords of your children. Check their accounts if they are on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook.
- Find out how to verify your children’s internet browsing history by checking the computer’s browsing history.
6. If you need help, get it
You can reduce internet addiction in many cases by following rules and being vigilant. Some young people find it impossible to resist the urge to use the internet and play video games.
If your child displays signs of internet addiction , or compulsive gaming behavior, it may not be possible to change this behavior. However professional help is available.
Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your child’s computer compulsions. They can be limited outpatient therapy or more intensive intervention at a residential boarding school, teen wilderness program, or in-home therapy.
These options might seem extreme for what appears to be a typical teen behavior. But, as mental health professionals gain more insight into compulsive or obsessive behavior and as awareness grows about the dangers associated with internet addiction, the severity of the situation becomes apparent.
Talk to your school counselor if you have concerns about your child’s internet use. You can also consult your family physician.
There is help available and you can return to a healthy, moderate internet usage level. But it is not possible until you make that first step.