Most teenagers today have never lived in a world without the internet. They are often more tech-savvy than adults and they embrace each new technology that develops. This interest in the internet and technology can evolve into an obsession. Teenagers are known for extremes in moods and behaviors, but extreme internet use can cause the everyday living to take a back seat to online time.
Signs and Symptoms of Internet Addiction in Adolescents
The following symptoms might indicate that your teenager has an internet addiction:
- Internet use seems more important than time with friends or hobbies that were previously enjoyed
- Internet use has affected teenager’s grades in school
- Loss of sleep due to internet use
- Meeting strangers or unsafe people online
- Unhealthy eating patterns, or high intake of caffeine to stay awake
- Making many friends who he or she has never actually met in person
- Experiencing anxiety when away from the internet
- Neglect of appearance or hygiene
- Missing money or increased online spending for websites, games, and other internet purchases
Why Do Teens Become Addicted to the Internet?
Every teen is different, just as every internet addiction is different. Some of the reasons your teen cannot break away from the computer may include:
- Anxiety over life, school, achievements, and relationships may make the internet seem more appealing
- Teenagers with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may discover that the internet can hold their attention
- The internet can be an escape from the hormones and emotions of adolescence
- The teenager may feel that he or she can have a different identity online
- The teenager may suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, other anxiety disorders, or depression
How is Internet Addiction Treated?
The most effective treatment for internet addiction is to remove the internet from the teenager’s life. Inpatient treatment removes the teenager from both the internet and the surroundings that allowed the addiction. Inpatient treatment is a form of intensive therapy that allows the teenager to spend an extended amount of time at an overnight facility. Inpatient facilities for internet addiction will provide:
- Medical care
- Nutritious meals
- Group therapy
- Daily activities
Need Help Finding Internet Addiction Treatment for Teenagers?
Are you or your teenager addicted to the internet? Our toll-free number is available 24 hours a day to provide you with more information about internet addiction and treatment programs. You owe it to yourself and your family to learn more about your options.