Study: Internet addiction a growing problem among youth

WASHINGTON – Parents remember what it was like to grow up without the Internet, but it’s a different story for their kids.

Take the Internet away, and parents may be in for a temper tantrum.

A recent British survey took a look at the issue and analyzed the online lives of children. Almost half of those under 12 said they would feel said without the internet.

For teens, it’s even worse, the study found.

The Daily Mail reports 48 percent of teens would feel lonely without a broadband connection.

And a recent American study found up to 12 percent of teens are addicted to the Internet.

Addiction is characterized by a child’s strong desire to be on the Internet, and having that desire get in the way of other activities like spending time with friends and family, sleeping and doing schoolwork, the American study found.

To combat the growing trend, pediatricians recommend setting limits on Internet time and keeping computers out of kids’ rooms — which may be easier said than done with so many children having smartphones.

Other recommendations include monitoring children’s online activities. Certain ones pose a higher risk for addiction, such as reality-based programs, such as World of Warcraft.

If a child’s preoccupation with the internet becomes worrisome, doctors recommend parents seek professional help.

WTOP’s Nathan Hager contributed to this report. Follow Nathan Hager and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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