Tech - Internet
By: - at January 13, 2013

How Can You Help a Child or Teen with an Internet Addiction?

With the internet becoming so popular, a new form of addiction is gaining notoriety involving young people and the internet.  Getting help for an internet addicted child or teen may seem like an overwhelming task, but when the right steps are followed it is possible to get them help.  There are potentially millions of children at risk of being targeted by paedophiles due to interactions with strangers in chat rooms.  Parents need to think more about what the potential dangers of the internet are, and how they can protect their children.  There are many parents who are aware of the dangers the internet poses to their children, but there are many parents who are not tech savvy enough to understand what the dangers are.  By being computer illiterate, these parents are incapable of protecting their children digitally.  There are more and more reports about adults attempting to start sexual relationships with minors over chat rooms, children becoming addicted to online pornography, and children developing abnormal and aggressive behavior.  Internet safety is a major issue today for parents and only by understanding the risks the internet poses to young people can parents be prepared to handle them successfully.

Internet Chat Room

The internet is full of sexual predators, obscene websites, cyber bullies, and online scams.  Chat rooms are a safe haven for sexual predators who don't even  hesitate when given the opportunity to talk to a minor.  They lurk on many different types of chat rooms targeting children and teens.  Chatting online is like an addiction which over time can generate serious problems for children.  Children are the most vulnerable in chat rooms as they tend to believe anything someone tells them.  Being overly trusting and generally inexperienced in life matters, children are extremely vulnerable online.  Paedophiles manipulate their victims, taking advantage of a child's inexperience and delicate feelings.

To protect children from the danger that chat rooms present, a new virtual ID card has been launched in the UK, US, Canada and Australia to improve children's safety on the Internet.  Children can swap this card (known as the NetIDMe card) online when using chat rooms, instant messaging and social networking websites.  This virtual card will likely make it harder for adults to pose as children online and serves as a great step in digital security for kids.

Parents should advise their children and explain the dangers by following these recommendations:

  • Chat Room AddictionTell your children to never give out personal information about themselves, where they live, the schools they go to, etc.  If they have to, tell them to do so only if they know the person well enough.
  • Never allow your children to send a picture of themselves unless they know the person.
  • Never allow webcams to be used by children on their own.
  • Never, under any circumstances, arrange to meet anyone met through contact on the computer.  No one can guarantee who they will meet in this way.
  • Inform your children to let you know what they are doing and the contacts they make on the Internet.
  • Children should be using computers in the open where parents can observe and monitor.
  • Parents need to monitor all sites the child is visiting making sure nothing too obscene is being accessed.

There is no denying the fact that the Internet is a major part of everyone's life.  Young people practically live on the internet using it for school, gaming, and quick communication.  Helping a child or teen with an internet addiction is certainly a difficult task much like an intervention for a traditional drug addict.  If you make your children understand the danger of using the internet unsafely and if they understand that it is for their own protection, they will be inclined to listen to you.  Encourage them to use the Internet safely and provide them with positive reinforcement while they make progress.

Please share your thoughts below on what has worked for you to help your child with chat room addiction or any other kind of internet addiction!


 

 

 

 

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