How-to help your teen overcome internet addiction
Help your teen overcome internet addiction : Nowadays, internet is a huge part of our society, ranging from, business, industries up to our homes.
Everyone uses internet for various purposes and in various ways, like sending emails, watching videos and learning new things.
The use of internet without a doubt has become part of our everyday lives.
The internet provides a lot of benefits that makes life convenient for us. Communicating with others, no matter how far they are has become easier because of internet.
It entertains us in many possible ways, from the millions of videos that we can watch to the billions of articles that we can access. Learning becomes easy.
Since your teenagers are exposed to the internet, living without it seems so unnatural for them.
Like the phase, “I can’t live without internet” or “how am I going to keep in touch with my friends!?” and a lot more.
It is of little wonder why the local news in Waterford, titled “Miracle Teenager Survives on His Own for Almost 6 Hours with No Wi-Fi” went viral.
Is it really impossible to survive without internet connection?
As parents, we don’t want our teenagers to be frustrated for any reason. We want them to always be happy.
In the same way, we don’t want them to be stressed about not having internet or WiFi. Because, all we care about is their well-being and happiness. But what can we do to help teens overcome internet addiction and survive without internet connection?
Topics covered in this blog
- What causes internet addiction and dependency on WiFi
- 6 Types of internet addiction
- How to spot internet addiction
- Why teen overcome internet addiction (Risk factors)
- 8 ways to help your teen overcome internet addiction
Internet addiction disorder is a term that was actually said as a satirical joke by Ivan Goldberg, M.D. in the year 1995. But it seems to be a real thing. This is gripping our teenagers today. As per my research, I find that it is not yet classified as an official disorder by the US.
However, China has acknowledged this as a clinical disorder and is working out to help teens overcome internet addiction. Some study show that 3.7% of our teenagers suffer from Internet addiction .
China in fact, has gone a step further and has internet deaddiction centers to help teen overcome internet addiction.
So, whether it is a real thing or not can be debated. But for me as a parent of a teenage son, it’s very much a real danger that I see is gripping my son.
What causes internet addiction and dependency on WiFi
The symptoms of Internet addiction as you can see from the points above is very similar to that of substance abuse.
It is because the neurological footprint of both Internet addiction and substance abuse look very similar.
You may argue that substance abuse happens because of chemical intake into the body that releases neuro chemicals.
But it is found that when it comes to Internet addiction it is the reward (such as level up in a video game, or ‘likes’ and follows and shares in the case of social media) that causes the same neuro chemicals to be released.
And one gets addicted to the “high” it brings them and they crave for more.
When you come back from work, what is the first thing that your teenager is doing? They are holding their phone browsing on the internet or watching videos.
Sometimes you will see them sitting on the computer chair playing some online games. And if, your son/daughter is responsible, you will see them browsing the internet for some school related activities.
Teenagers consider Wi-Fi connection as a necessity because of the benefits that they can gain from it. It provides to whatever needs they have. Be it social, academic or leisure needs. They can get it all from the internet.
That’s why you’ll hear them saying “I can’t live without Wi-Fi connection” but in reality they can survive without it.
They’re just having some difficulty to adjust because they’re so much used to it. Or they are addicted and you need to help your teen overcome internet addiction
You can read about other addictions from our articles
- How-To talk to teen about Sex, Drugs and Alcohol
- How-To find out if your teenager is using drugs
- How to prevent your teen from social media addiction
6 Types of internet addiction
Below are the different types of internet addiction that you need to be aware of. It will help you plan on how to help your teen overcome internet addiction.
Online sex or Pornography addiction
This includes everything from cybersex, sexting, pornography etc. Frequent visits to such websites or chat rooms. Some even pay for these services or participate in it.
Online gambling addiction
It is just like offline gambling, just that it is done online. This includes all types of online games where money is traded. This also includes participating in bid out of need to win for products that are not of need or use to the buyer.
Online Gaming addiction
All types of games such as Online games, video games, Games that need online counterparts, games that can be downloaded and played etc..
Binge watching addiction
This is a new trend with the availability of serials and exclusive serials. Where they can be watched one after another without break. It leads not only to binge watching but also restlessness while sleeping.
Information seeking addiction
This involves people who google everything and anything. Check on facts, to an extent where any normal conversation is substantiated by a search online. Right from trying to find latest news to checking out medical information.
Online relationship seekers
People who approach chats and social media to find companionship, find relationships. They maybe concealing real life identity. They also can be people who try and maintain many relationships to feel sought after and loved.
Being sufficiently aware is the first step to help your teen overcome internet addiction.
Some of these stem from anxiety , depression and stress. Read about these in detail from our articles..
- How-To SPOT & DEAL with Teenage Anxiety Issues
- Find out if your teenager is battling depression?
- How-To HELP & EASE stress in your teenager
How to spot internet addiction in Teens..
The next step, to try to help your teen overcome internet addiction is to know how to spot the signs. Know the symptoms.
Just as the name says it is an addiction. So symptoms mirror lot with that of any other addiction . We have listed below few signs that you can spot in your teenager that should raise concerns to you.
At the same time you should remember that puberty and hormonal changes can do a number on your teenager.
So, when you see noticeable deterioration in behaviour and you see a noticeable effect of the Internet on your teenager it is time that you take action and seek professional help .
If you spot your teen
- Always thinking about going online
- Hooked on to a website, or game or social media.
- Feels bored , irritable, frustrated when they are offline
- Doesn’t know what else to do if they are not connected to the net.
- Reduction in offline (real world) friends and social circle.
- Sleep deprived (Due to constant checking of phone)
- Change in eating patterns.
- Being tired or drowzy all day due to lack of sleep.
- Spending more and more time online
- Missing out of obligation, chores and school work
- Drop in school grades and performance.
- Complaint of physical ailments such as Dry eyes, back issues, texting thumb etc..
- Lying about the time spent on internet. Being secrective about it.
- Disengagement from school, Activities, Hobbies, sports etc. Things your teen once enjoyed.
- Disregard for personal hygiene. Body Image issues.
- Indulging in risky behavior for social media gratification.
- Is not able to cut down on the internet usage even after trying to do so multiple times.
Some of the articles that can help you are
- How-To Help & Deal with a teenager mood swings
- How to effectively deal with Teenager Anger
- How to help with poor academic performance in your teen
Risk Factors involved in internet addiction
Internet usage can lead to lot of physical and mental problems. Hence it becomes all the more important for you as parents to know how to help your teen overcome internet addiction.
Physical problems such as..
- Dry eyes or burning sensation
- Weight gain / loss
- Body aches, Neck aches or back aches.
- Vision issues / problems
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Texting thumb. Or twitches.
Mental Problems such as..
- Body image issues.
- Aggression , Anger, backtalk
- Mood swings
- Co-occurring disorders like Anxiety or depression or OCD
- Stress or self esteem issues
- Social Isolation
You can browse about most of these topics and many more from our huge list of articles from this link -> Parenting challenges faced while raising teenagers
8 ways to help your teen overcome internet addiction
Go on a trip
The main reason why your teenager is constantly using the internet is because they are so stuck to it due to the different reasons mentioned earlier. Find ways to distract their attention away from it.
Try to go on a trip with your son or daughter. It doesn’t have to be a luxurious and expensive trip.
You can visit some family members in another city if you happen to have some. You can also invite them to go with you to local markets and farms.
Make it a technology free vacation or outing. For me it was very effective to not only stay connected with my teens but to also make them aware that there is a beautiful world out there. And they can survive without internet.
You can also:
- Do camping
- Mountain climbing
- Go to the beach
- Visit their old friends or cousins
- Go to arcades
Ask them if there is a place that they really want to go. If there is , then try to take them there.
Because by doing so, you are shifting their focus away from the use of internet. Little by little you can help your teen overcome internet addiction.
These also help in building strong family relationships and emotional connection with your teenager.
You can get more information on these topics from our articles How to build positive family relationship with your teen and How-To Easily build Emotional Connection with your Teenager
Do some physical activity
A physical activity has lots of benefits: It makes our mind and body healthy; it relaxes us so we can be stress free and it helps us remove some negative vibes from our life.
Even a simple five kilometer jog can give you a lot of benefits
Help your teenager survive without Wi-Fi by doing some physical activities. Like, exercise, sports, meditation or yoga.
It not only helps teen overcome internet addiction and not to be dependent on the internet but can also make their body healthy.
Make it a priority to tell that physical activities are a must and they must have it. Be their trainer if they want to go to the gym. Play some sports with them any sports that you think your son/daughter likes.
Here are list of activities you can do:
- Sports related (basketball, volleyball etc.)
- Simple walking
Give them responsibilities
Give your teenager a sense of responsibility. Any responsibility will do. It doesn’t have to be some heavy task. It can be the simplest task inside the house.
In this way, you are helping them to disengage themselves from using the internet.
Let them know their responsibilities as a teen. It is also important to develop their sense of responsibility, especially at this stage.
Give them specific tasks that they must do inside the house. For instance you
You can also give them the responsibility to do their own laundry every weekend. Think of a task that you can give to them
This implicitly helps them to disengage their self away from the use of internet and in the long run teaches them that they have some responsibility as your child.
Nothing teaches responsibility like chores. Know more about it from our article All You Need to know about Chores for Your Teenager. Also it is wise to teach them financial wisdom. If you are wondering how our article How to teach financial wisdom to your teen? will throw some light.
Invite their friends to come over
Allow them to invite their friends to come along and hang out at your house. This will allow them to socialize and communicate with others which is a reason why teens are so attached with internet.
Ideally, it is better for their friends to come and spend time at your house than letting your minor son/daughter to go over to their friend’s house.
Tell to your teenager that they can invite some of their friends to come over. You can cook some meals that they can share with them.
He/she for sure will appreciate that you are accepting his/her friends.
Help your teen make right choices of friends. The below articles can give you some insights..
- How-to help your teen to choose right friends
- How-To get rid of your teens Toxic Friendship
- 5 Effective ways to deal with Peer Pressure
Enroll them for a workshop
Enroll your teens into different workshops that they might like. This will make them a lot busier which will keep them distracted from using internet. Make sure that the workshop is something that they’re interested in.
For example if they like to do some acting, enroll them in a drama or theater workshop. This will keep them engaged and away from internet.
Set schedules/ rules about the use of Wi-Fi connection at home
If you want to help your teenager survive without Wi-Fi connection then you have to set some rules.
Rules are important to set limits for your son/daughter. They get to know their limitations. It is not wrong to set some rules when it comes to Wi-Fi usage.
Set a time where they are allowed to use it, for example, they are only allowed to use it from 10:00 am (after they finish their entire chores) up to 9:00 pm only (to make sure they have enough sleep).
You can also set restrictions like; every Sunday is family day so Wi-Fi connection will be turned off.
With this, they will realize that they can still survive without Wi-Fi connection.
If internet connection is not available, you can play games with your teenager. Games are not restricted to online games. You can play a game that doesn’t required internet connection.
For sure this will be a new and meaningful experience for your son/daughter. He/she can have fun without internet connection.
You can play some classic games that can be bought in stores.
Like, card games, Chess, snakes and ladders, Jumping rope, and a lot more.
Classic games are still much more fun to play than video games especially if you get to play with your loved ones.
Here are games that you can play with them:
- Relay Games
- Board Games
- Card Games
- Ball Games
- Water Balloon Dodge ball
Instead of staying at home without internet connection, you can invite your teenager to be a volunteer. Look for an interesting but meaningful activity.
Search on the internet the nearest charity or non-government organization that you and your teen can help.
Invite her/his to spend a day to volunteer and help someone in needs.
They will be happy to help other people for sure. Aside from that, they can learn something from volunteering.
It can make them realize how blessed they are they will be thankful on everything.
You can volunteer in different places like:
- Animal Rescue Shelters
- National Parks
- Local Libraries
- Art Museums
It is a big deal or a serious problem for a teenager to not have an internet connection especially nowadays, where it is becoming a necessity in our daily lives.
Due to its convenience even, adults are relying on the use of internet.
It might be really challenging to help your child disengage with the internet but fortunately there is always a way for you to help them.
Helping them survive without Wi-Fi can cause two positive things.
The first one is, you help them have a healthy mind and body and the second benefit is it opens opportunities for your teenager to relate to you and connect with real life friends.
Technology today is the best baby sitter and can take the load of entertaining a kid off the parents back, with added advantage of your kid sitting like a potato on the couch. Like a lump of clay.
It does all harm than good. It is best that we intervene before it is too late so that our teenagers can move on to have a healthy and balanced life.
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