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In addition to a decline in school performance and grades, signs might include repeated surfing or e-mailing during class time, difficulty concentrating and falling asleep in class, hours of night-time use, frequent complaints of being tired, school lateness or absenteeism, and withdrawal from all activities such as sports practices, friends, social engagements and music lessons. Experts agree, if you suspect your teen is up half the night chatting on- line, something else might be going on. And we know how some of those cases have played out. If a teenager has a computer in her room or a laptop at her disposal, what she does once her parents are asleep can spell trouble.
Racking up bills for such things as on- line gambling or shopping is also a sign your child is spending too much time on-line. "Teens who spend significant amounts of time on line can suffer from depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and social isolation, and can fall victim to dangers such as sexual predators," says Dr. It's common sense: when you go to sleep at in the evening, you have no idea what your teen is doing-- on-line or otherwise-- between the hours of 11 p.m. If this is when overuse is occurring, and if it is interfering with school or socializing, time to remove the desktop or lock up the laptop.
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.
Take Melanie (not her real name), a sixteen-year-old Greenwich Village student, who spent up to seven hours a day updating her Face book page and instant messaging with friends.
Most stories about adolescents and the internet underscore the very real dangers of cyberbullies, sexual predators, and on-line scams that imperil unsuspecting, vulnerable teens. All of this access can be dangerous; those who abuse the internet can become trapped in a cyber riptide of sorts, pulled in further and further as their time on-line increases, their school performance declines, and their family and peer relationships begin to suffer.
For people in this age group, internet use is frequently intertwined with sex, gambling, eating disorders, or drug problems, as well as depression or anxiety, according to Dr.