Spotting Internet Addiction With Your Kid

Helping your child with their internet addiction may not be easy. However, as long as you are sensitive and willing to work with them, you can help them through it.

Spotting internet addiction with your kid can be hard, but not impossible. Several key signs may mean they are hooked. However, you can help them break their habit and lessen the time they spend online. 

Young children ages 8 to 12 spend an average of six hours online every day. Teenagers ages 13 to 17 spend an average of nine hours online every day. However, the amount of time children spend online does not necessarily mean they are addicted to the internet. 

Some children are not addicted to the internet, they are just dependent on it. Most children use the internet to escape reality. Other children who struggle with mental health issues tend to use the internet as a coping mechanism. 

If your child’s internet use is interfering with their daily life, they may be addicted. To find out whether your child is enjoying the internet like every other average kid or they are addicted, check out the signs below. 

How to Spot Internet Addiction in Your Kid

It’s important to keep an eye on your child’s behavior and see if they exhibit any of the following behaviors concerning internet addiction:

  • They have irritated or tired eyes from too much screen time.
  • They seem fatigued from spending too much time online. They might also be losing sleep to stay up late online. 
  • They seem to have lost their appetite. Or they still use an electronic device while eating.
  • They seem disconnected from other parts of their life. Their grades have gotten worse, or maybe they’ve stopped participating in after-school activities or paying attention during class. 
  • When they hang out with their friends, they ignore them to spend more time on the internet. Or they skip out on socializing with their friends so they can spend more time online. 
  • They seem to be obsessed with the internet. The only thing they seem to talk about or think about is the internet. Or it seems like they always need to be online. 
  • They are irritable when they are away from their phone, computer, or tablet. They get irritated when you ask them to get offline. 
  • They lie about how much time they spend online.

If your child willingly gets off the internet or seems comfortable being away from it, they are probably just dependent on it. There are steps you can take to help your child if they’re addicted to the internet. Keep reading to find out what to do to help your internet-addicted child. 

What to Do If Your Child is Addicted to the Internet

If you’ve seen your child’s behavior decline based on internet addiction, there are some steps you can take to help prevent further harm:

  • Enlist other guardians or mentors to help assist your child. Make sure everyone agrees on how to handle the problem so you can be a united front. 
  • Create a safe space. You care about your child and have to be gentle in your approach to helping them kick their addiction. Don’t take away their devices or force them to quit cold turkey. If you do, you could damage your relationship with them. Instead, remind your child that you are here to help them. 
  • Work with your child to come up with new boundaries or rules. Maybe they want to come up with a schedule for when they can be online or when they should be staying off their devices. Or maybe they want to set a limit on how much they can spend on games. Whatever the boundary, make sure it is something your child is comfortable with that you can both agree on. Come up with a consequence for what will happen if they don’t follow the new rules and communicate it clearly to your child. 
  • If necessary, there are apps you can use to track your child’s online activity. You can use apps like these to hold your child accountable and make sure they are staying on track with their plan. It may also help you better understand your child and what they are going through. 

Helping your child with their internet addiction may not be easy. However, as long as you are sensitive and willing to work with them, you can help them through it.


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