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Is your teenager addicted to Internet?

A survey reveals that teenagers are so addicted to online computer games and social networking sites that they find it hard to control how much time they spend online.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2010 12:33 IST

A survey has revealed that teenagers are addicted to online computer games, social networking sites and e-mails and discovered that many of them find it hard to control how much time they spend online and often feel depressed.

Now mounting concern over the effects of constant computer use on the mental health of Britain's teenagers has prompted a private clinic in London to set up it's first dedicated internet addiction service for young people, reports

"It's not the amount of time spent on the computer that's important. It's the extent to which it interferes with their daily life," said Harley Street addiction specialist Maria Clyne, who has used cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy to treat a number of young internet addicts.

"When they miss out on their usual group activities or are no longer interested in their favourite sports because they would rather be online, it is a warning sign they are becoming addicted," she added.

Clyne elaborates further and said: "I have treated addicts who have become very irritable when they cannot go online. It's like they have withdrawal symptoms."

So how does one observe that his child is addicted to online activities?

Here are some symptoms:
Temper tantrums: Mental health specialists say angry outbursts in children denied access to their computer are a sure sign they are becoming hooked.

Increasing time online: Net junkies try to spend longer and longer time online in order to satisfy their cravings. Keep an eye on your child to make sure their surfing sessions are not being extended.

Quitting sports or clubs: Previously active children who lose interest in their favourite sports or activities should be closely monitored for internet use.

Eating problems: Loss of appetite or irregular eating habits caused by excessive internet use could also indicate a child is becoming dependent on their computer.

First Published: Apr 12, 2010 12:08 IST