MANILA, Philippines - It may not be a mainstream problem yet but experts are now sounding the alarm on Internet addiction, specifically among the youth.
Known child psychologist Dr. Honey Carandang shares that more and more patients are going to experts with this problem.
The common signs of Internet addiction that lead to dysfunction are:
- loss of appetite;
- lack of sleep;
- fatigue; and
- restlessness when not in front of the computer.
Internet addiction may result in lowered grades, job loss, and lying about time spent online.
Carandang said when these things happen, one should not immediately get mad at the child or restrict his access to a computer as simply being dictatorial and forcibly stopping the habit will not help.
"Talk first to your child which shows na nirerespeto mo siya, tinanong muna siya. Tapos inalam mo sa kanyang point of view kung anong nangyayari," Carandang said.
She added that the usual reason why a child becomes addicted to the Internet is the existence of a problem at home.
"Baka naman nangyayari 'yun kasi puro away sa pamilya kaya nage-escape na lang siya sa Internet. Or nire-reject siya sa school. Marami ring causes that push them," Carandang said.
It is important, she said, that the addiction be addressed before it worsens.
"Importanteng maagapan kasi ang consequences, unang una ay health... Tapos 'yung social life niya--wala na siyang pagkakataon na matuto sa pakikitungo sa ibang tao, how to relate to others, how to cooperate and all that. Ang dami-daming normal activities to make a child healthy and normal na mawawala sa kanya kung nandun lang siya sa computer," Carandang said.
Carandang added that it's not only the parents who should take steps to curb Internet addiction in children. Schools and local communities should also cooperate in monitoring and regulating children's patronage of Internet cafes near their residence or school. -- Report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News