How To Help Teens That Are Addicted to the Computer
Is your teen addicted to the computer? If you’re a teen, do you feel that you might be addicted? Many teens and even some adults today have a hard time pulling themselves away from their PC or from their phone, and it can cause quite a problem for them. They may prefer computer games over time with their friends, may feel the need to endlessly surf the internet, or may feel anxious and upset when they can’t update their Facebook statuses or immediately return a text message. This can cost them real friendships and may affect their grades as they’re online when they should be studying.
It’s easy to become addicted to the computer and the internet because it’s so entertaining and involving. If you want to play games there is an endless variety from which to choose. You can start to read a Wikipedia article online about your favorite athlete or actress, and then click through all the references and fan sites and before you know it, you’ve spent hours catching up on Tony Romo’s stats and private life or finding out the latest gossip about Justin Bieber or Kristen Stewart. Male teens especially may find it easy to watch pornography online and find it difficult to put this away.
As easy as it is to become addicted, it’s also very dangerous and should be considered carefully by teens and their families. A teenager that spends too much time online can become socially withdrawn and isolated and find it difficult to maintain real friendships once they’ve unplugged. This can affect them when it’s time to find a job or head off to college. Pornography can also be very dangerous to a teen as they may get the wrong idea about healthy sexuality, and some pornography involves violence against women and even children, something that can affect a teen’s view of others for a long time.
To help yourself or your teen break away, the first thing a parent might do is set strict limits on computer usage. This includes time they can use their phone to browse the internet. If your teen doesn’t follow these limits, replace their phone with one that doesn’t allow internet access, or block it from your calling plan. It also helps to move the computer from their room and keep it in a family room or living room, so you have more control over its use.
Teens also need activities to substitute for time on the computer. Encourage him or her to get involved with sports or dance or theater, or help them find another hobby that doesn’t involve being online and that puts them in the company of others. Plan family outings, join a church group, or get the family involved in volunteer work. All these things will help a child to break away from the online world and their addiction to the computer.