Dr. Philip Tam, a Child/ Adolescent Psychiatrist and President/ Co-Founder of niira, the Network for Internet Investigation and Research Australia has written a post on internet addiction for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (cyber: smart) blog.
Some of the questions I am asked when assessing a child or teenager with problematic internet use are: How common is this problem in the community? How can parents try to manage or control their child’s heavy (or even extreme) computer use? Can it cause lasting damage and harm to a developing individual?
There have been a number of studies done internationally and in Australia looking at just how big an issue problematic internet use might be. There is an emerging consensus that around five to 10 per cent of all regular computer or internet users (including those who enjoy gaming) might have a problem with excessive use.
Parents have a key role in managing their child’s internet use. Talk to your child, and monitor what games, apps and devices are bought or used by your child. Look out for warning signs that a problem may be emerging, such as reduced school performance or attendance, lack of sleep, not eating and becoming withdrawn from friends and family.
In an upcoming post, Dr Tam will look at available treatments.