World Wide Worries

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Perhaps your child’s grades have started to decline or maybe he or she has become increasingly sleepy during the day.  Excessive cyber use could be to blame.  Most young people make use of computers, video games, and the Internet in a responsible manner, but an increasing percentage of them teeter on addiction.  They play video games, surf the Internet, text, or obsess on social networking sites, like Facebook, to the point where these behaviors impact their relationships with family and friends and prevent them from success in school.  If your child exhibits three or more of the following, it may be time to seek professional help:

Time warp: inability to determine time spent in cyber activities. Changes or disruptions in sleep.
Withdrawing from family and friends.
Losing interest in other hobbies and recreational activities.
Spending more than three hours a day, more than four days
a week in cyber activities.
Physical ailments: backache, carpal tunnel syndrome,
nerve pain, eye strain.
Emotional disturbance when access to the cyber world is taken away.
Withdrawal symptoms after cyber activities: headache,
malaise, light-headedness.
Continued excess despite serious adverse consequences.
Ever-increasing amounts of time in the cyber world.

As a parent, you need to be aware of the amount of time your child spends in cyber activities, and understand that a problem in this area could simply be a sign of a deeper issue.    Excessive interest in the cyber world often signals ADHD, social anxiety, depression, and a great variety of other psychological disorders and conditions.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Research the Internet and keep abreast of the latest offerings of video games.  In this way, you will understand a very important aspect of youth culture, possessing the knowledge to help your child develop and properly channel his or talents rather than destroy them.