Internet addiction is the latest compulsive behavior to add to our many problems. How much time to you spend on the PC? Are you gambling? Having cyber sex? The Internet provides information, entertainment, and so much more. You can get e-mails and surf the net from your phone, tablet or PC. You never have to be bored. So how do you know if you have a problem? How do you know if you actually need the time you spend on the net or if you're actually addicted to it.
All of us have different needs. If you use the web for business, you may need to spend time social networking, or keeping up websites ~ and then there is connecting with family and others to touch base and connect with.
The key is this: when you’re spending a lot of time at the computer and you're neglecting your personal life and you're real relationships, when you neglect work or school or other events in your life; if you keep going back to the internet despite negative consequences, you have a problem. You're using the internet as an escape from other issues, and this has to be addressed.
Also, ask yourself if you have other online addictions. Is the internet addiction out of control? How much money you spend on the internet? Do certain shopping sites call your name? Do you spend too much money on online gambling, cyber sex, chat rooms. If you find that you're drawn to the internet with negative activities, this can also be also a wake-up call.
You don't set limits with the internet
You lie or cover up how much time you spend on the PC
You compromise your morals and values because of anonymity
You place importance on your computer and defend your behavior
You feel a rush and then feel guilt due to the time spent on line
You feel depressed or anxious when you're interrupted on the computer
You've spent too much money due to charges and other costs on the net.
If you have at least one of these symptoms, you may have an internet addiction
Getting professional help is easy and it can give you just the boost you need to control this problem. When you get cognitive behavioral therapy, you get the insight as well as the techniques to make changes ~ not only with this behavior but in all aspects of your life. It sounds unimaginable I know, but it's true. When you get the right type of help, you learn healthier ways of coping with stress, anxiety, loneliness or depression. You become comfortable with your emotions and there is no need to escape.
If your partner is affected by excessive internet use and is participating in cybersex, porn etc you can also get help for these issues. There is no need to suffer when help is available.
Your child shuts him/herself in the bedroom for hours and what do you do? They may be using the web for school projects, playing games or getting involved with goodness knows what ~ however, as a parent, you know that whatever your child is doing on the computer, he/she is spending too much time doing it.
So what do you do?
Encourage other interests. Schedule family outings, hobbies, sports, friends etc., and don’t allow the internet to be a ‘baby-sitter’
Set limits. Restrict the use of all technology, tablets, phones etc. and monitor them by having them in an area where you can set time limits. Remember ~ that as a parent, you must also be role a model. If you don’t restrict your own technology use, why would your children do differently?
Don't be judgemental. Compulsive computer use can be an escape for underlying issues. Talk to your child, but don’t condemn. Children are open to talk if they feel that they will be judged.
Get Help. If you can’t communicate with your child, it’s time to call in someone who can. Does your child feel comfortable talking to a teacher, or a coach? Don't be offended if they may be more receptive to them than they are to you.
An experienced professional is trained to talk to people, without judgment or being authoritative. Children and teens are usually resistant to get outside help at first. However, I have found that once they form a rapport with you, they are very open and actually relieved to talk about their problems, make the necessary changes and receive help.
Personally, I love working with kids. After the initial meeting, where most of them are resistant to the 'expert' they're eager to talk, are honest and glad to have someone they can trust who understands them.
Teens have a very low tolerance for insincerity. They get it. They know if you're there for them, if you're authentic, or if you're faking it. They're direct and will tell it like it is.
If you don't know where to turn and need advice to help you help your child, don't be shy. Give me a call.
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