Internet AddictionIN ADOLESCENT HEALTH
A recent study led by Yale University researchers found that one in 25 teens displayed signs of “problematic Internet use”—a form of addiction to accessing the World Wide Web. With the increasing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, your teen may be spending the majority of his or her free time online. This attachment to the Internet can manifest as an “irresistible urge,” according to authors of the study, which surveyed 10 high schools in Connecticut.
Timothy Liu, M.D., psychiatrist and primary author of the study, and his colleagues collected data from a total of 3,560 high school students. The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, included a 150-question survey that focused on various areas of teen health, including impulses and online use. Several questions were asked about Internet use, such as:
- Have you ever had an irresistible urge to go online?
- Have you ever tried to quit or reduce your Internet use?
- Have you experienced a growing tension or anxiety that can be relieved only by using the Internet?
- Have you ever missed an important event due to spending time online?
- Has your family ever expressed concerns about your Internet usage?
The survey found that 4 percent of teens had problematic Internet use. The results also showed that girls were more likely to have Internet addictions, but boys were more likely to spend about 20 hours per week online. The students identified as Internet addicts were also more likely to have social problems at school and be depressed.
Authors of the study compare Internet addiction to other familiar diseases, such as gambling and drug abuse. Although the study showed no correlation between school performance and students with Internet addictions, the authors do feel that this type of addiction can alter psychological behavior.
| Is Your Teen Addicted to the Internet?
If your teen is spending a significant amount of time online, he or she may be addicted. This type of addiction is associated with a wide variety of additional problems, including depression, lack of control, mood swings and misuse of money. Some other signs of addiction include:
If you think your teen spends too much time online—or that he or she may even be addicted to the Internet—start a conversation. Ask your teen about his or her Internet usage, and be understanding, rather than confrontational. If you feel that going online has become a serious problem, speak with a counselor or family medical provider for additional assistance.
Sources: online.wsj.com, sciencedaily.com, msnbc.msn.com, video-game-addiction.org, articles.cnn.com© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.
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