Heavy users can be socially linked-in, popular adolescents who make good grades.
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"For an entire year I saw nothing but the back of my daughter's head," Melanie's dad explains. When she became inconsolable and accused us of ruining her social life--she couldn't update her Face book page--we knew there was a serious problem." Turned out, Melanie was down and out over a flirtation with a boy that had gone nowhere.
Once she and her parents began to talk about what was bothering her, their home situation improved dramatically.
Many spend hours on-line, e-mailing, instant messaging, downloading music, and updating Facebook pages, with some visiting game sites, shopping, and gambling on-line.
When her previously high grades began to drop, her parents confiscated her desktop, and Melanie threatened to leave home.
Signs and symptoms of withdrawal anxiety in a child include: difficulty concentrating, pacing, irritable and stressed mood, and fidgeting. Don't let a difficult situation fall through the cracks.
"You might wonder whether your teen has a problem if he cannot pull himself away from the internet and transition to another activity," notes Dr. Other signs your child could have a problem with internet overuse? While it may sound obvious, limiting computer time and access is key.
Teens might be on-line because they are already depressed, anxious, and lonely.
Or they might become so, if forced to give up their habit.
Eric Teitel, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Manhattan, and a faculty member of the NYU School of Medicine.
In older adolescents (18-25), the profile might differ-though just as with a younger adolescent you might first notice absenteeism from work or school.
If that does not work, or if fighting or discipline problems arise, seek treatment with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional.