Internet and Kids

Internet, a double-edged sword, is a great tool for communication and information that opens doors to businesses, relationships, and knowledge. However, it also poses potential dangers to the mental health of children who seek refuge in video games, chats, role-playing games, manga, and spend hours connected to the internet. This can alter their circadian rhythms, sleep, eating habits, and neglect their social relationships, leading to irritability and diminishing school performance. Additionally, there’s the danger of easy access to child pornography in the virtual world.

Pay special attention and be alert if your child:

  • Feels euphoric when using the computer.
  • Constantly thinks about the internet when doing other activities.
  • Lies about the amount of time spent connected to the network.
  • Neglects social, family relationships, and studies.
  • Feels anxious or restless when not connected to the internet.
  • Attempts to stop using the computer but fails.

Psychologist Isabel Menéndez warns that if three or more of these behaviors occur in a child, it may be considered an addiction. Also, be attentive to the quality of sleep, the amount of sleep, bedtime, personal hygiene, and extreme irritability when interrupted or denied internet access or video games. If your child prefers staying at home with the computer instead of going out, it’s also a cause for concern.

However, the problem doesn’t end there. Pornography is easily accessible content on the internet and according to Mary Anne Layden, director of the Sexual Traumas and Psychopathology program at the University of Pennsylvania, “the presence of pornography in the lives of many adolescent children deforms the healthy sexual development of young people.” Furthermore, grooming, where individuals attempt to befriend a child for sexual purposes, is another danger.

Some techniques to prevent your child from becoming addicted to technology include changing their routines, using alarms to control time spent online, setting weekly hours for internet use, and engaging them in other activities such as sports, reading, and spending time with friends.

Above all, always monitor the websites they browse, their gaming history, and chat conversations. While respecting their privacy is important, the safety of your children is paramount. It’s not about completely restricting internet use, as it’s a useful tool, but teaching them to use it properly and productively.

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