Are your kids spending too much time online?

Excessive Online Usage

Are you concerned that your child may be spending too much time online?

These days, kids and especially teens need the Internet to research information for school projects and homework. When used properly, it can be a reliable source of information for kids who simply love to read or want to learn more about specific topics. Likewise, it is a great social platform for kids and their friends when used properly!

However, as with too much of anything, there are negative results of too much screen time. It is up to us, the parents to set ground rules and regulate the amount of time our kids spend online each day. We need to make sure our children have time for other valuable activities, such as playing outdoors. Who remembers kick the can or rounders??? Kids need family time, outdoor play and extracurricular activities, for both their social development and health & well being. If not, these are just some of the negative effects too much screen time can have on our children:

  • Increased chances of becoming obese, even morbidly obese if the problem continues for a long period of time.  There’s no physical movement involved in screen time so our kids are not getting the exercise they need.

  • Sleep Problems, as they find it harder to wind down and switch off after too much screen time.

  • Difficulty Socialising, as children make and play with friends online more and more, they can struggle to form relationships in the real world which can result in them becoming withdrawn and suffering with low self-esteem and depression.

  • Low Self Esteem, now it is all about how many likes or friends you have on social media. Some teenagers rely on the amount of likes or follows they get on social media to validate their popularity and sense of worth. The negatives of this can also result in low self-esteem and depression.

Could Your Child Become Addicted to the Internet?

If your child spends too much time on the Internet, compulsive behaviour may develop. This can lead to an internet addiction, which just like any other type of addiction, can destroy a healthy balance of interests and activities in your teen’s life.

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So, here are some signs that your child may be developing an addiction to being online:

Too much time

  • Stays online much longer than intended to originally
  • Sneaks online when you or other adults aren’t watching
  • Lies about the amount of time spent on the Internet
  • Stays up all night to be on the Web
  • Disobeys rules set in relation to Internet time limits

Emotional fallout

  • Becomes angry and/or agitated when interrupted while online
  • Gets irritable when access to the Web is denied
  • Becomes moody, irritable, and/or depressed when offline for a couple days

Pre-occupied with online life

  • Prefers being online than being around real, live friends and family
  • When offline, remains preoccupied with getting back online
  • Checks social media and emails frequently throughout each day
  • Sacrifices doing homework or household chores for being on the Internet
  • Forms new bonds with people met on the Web
  • Loses all interest in activities previously enjoyed before becoming obsessed with being online