Children’s addiction to the Internet and computer – symptoms and causes

Children’s addiction to the Internet and computer – symptoms and causes

The Internet is part of life, especially for children. Most of them use the Internet in a healthy way. But there is a group of children who can no longer live without the Internet. When does surfing the net become an addiction?

Excessive use of the Internet is becoming an extremely serious social problem today. Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to this, for whom the Internet is an inseparable element of their daily activity, social life and entertainment.  

The latest EU Kids Online survey, conducted among children from 25 European countries, shows that almost 20% of children declare that they do not eat enough or do not sleep well due to surfing the web.  

Excessive internet use by children also has a huge impact on their emotional development. For several years, psychologists have been pointing to addiction to the strong emotions brought by the Internet, including, above all, the pace at which computer games take place and the accompanying adrenaline.

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Symptoms of a child’s Internet addiction

Concentration problems, drowsiness, poorer school performance, neglect of duties, deterioration of relationships with friends, resignation from old interests for the Internet – these can be serious signs that a child is no longer in control of the time spent online. Then you have to look at him carefully and start checking how much time he spends online.

The red light should come on if:

  • ● the child spends most of his free time on the Internet and does so at the expense of other interests;
  • ● neglects school and family duties because he has something important to do online;
  • ● forgets to eat meals and does not even go to the toilet;
  • ● breaks off contacts with peers in real life;
  • ● cannot say how much time he spends on the Internet or lies to us about it;
  • ● because of the Internet, quarrels and conflicts break out in the house;
  • ● the child is irritable or even aggressive if he is unable to use the Internet or when we try to limit the time spent in front of the computer.

Why do some children become addicted to the Internet?

The answer to this question is not simple. However, social and family factors as well as the personality of the child play a large role here.

Children who are shy and overly sensitive, insecure and with low self-esteem, and who are unable to deal with stress constructively, are more likely to become addicted to the Internet. On the Internet, they can create an artificial image of themselves and pretend. They can also withdraw from contact at any time. They don’t have to confront situations that are beyond them. In this way, they reduce fear and tension, but they also run away from real life and are more and more defenseless in real life.

A frequent reason for escaping into the virtual world are failures at school, rejection by peers, as well as conflicts in the family. Liberating a child from Internet addiction requires dealing with all the problems that prompted the child to escape to the Internet.

React when you notice that your child is addicted to the Internet

If you notice these symptoms in your child, it’s time to act. First of all, name the problem: tell your child that he is addicted to the Internet. Try to observe in which situations the child escapes into the virtual world. This may be the key to his addiction, because usually losing control over the use of the Internet is, like other addictions, a symptom of deeper emotional, social or family problems.

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