Some readers may view an obsession with online time as a harmless phase, as is the case with most. It usually requires mild intervention to be resolved, or, in more severe cases, the help of licensed therapists of psychologists. However, you may recall the South Korean couple, Kim Yoo-Chool and Choi Mi-Sun, online gaming addicts who, in 2010, were so immersed in a virtual reality game that they neglected what was actually real. This resulted in the tragic death of their three-month-old daughter due to starvation - at the apogee of horrifying, but this is what could happen when a syndrome, coined by modern professionals as “Internet Addiction Disorder” is taken to the extreme.
While not yet an official diagnosis, this discovery is given serious consideration by the 2012 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association – and kids, too, are vulnerable. CNN indicates that this is most likely when children are depressed or have ADHD (the hyper-focus aspect). A study also indicated its prevalence: 10.8% of 2,293 seventh grade Taiwanese students surveyed were found to be addicted, while boys, due to gaming, are at a higher risk than girls.
Jason Dick, an internet security specialist has outlined fifteen key factors to help you identify if your child is indeed hooked on the internet. They are as follows:
1. The Internet is frequently used as a means of escaping from problems or relieving a depressed mood.
2. Your child often loses track of time while online.
3. Sleep is sacrificed for the opportunity to spend more time online.
4. Your child prefers to spend more time online than with friends or family.
5. He/She lies to family member and friends about the amount of time or nature of surfing being done on the Internet.
6. Your child becomes irritable if not allowed to access the Internet.
7. He/She has lost interest in activities they once found enjoyable before getting online access.
8. Your child forms new relationships with people they have met online.
9. They check their email several times per day.
10. He/She has jeopardized relationships, achievements, or educational opportunities because of the Internet.
11. Your child disobeys the time limits that have been set for Internet usage.
12. They eat in front of the computer frequently.
13. Your child develops withdrawal symptoms including: anxiety, restlessness, or trembling hands after not using the Internet for a lengthy period of time.
14. Your child is preoccupied with getting back online when away from the computer.
15. They have trouble distinguishing between the virtual world and the real world.