Is The Internet Becoming the Drug for Your Teen?

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If you have a teenager at home who is glued to the computer screen most of the time, you need to pay attention now! A study has revealed that internet addiction dislocates the nerve wiring in the teenager’s brain. Now, these are the effects that people addicted to cocaine and alcohol, suffer. Clearly internet addiction can be as bad as the drug addiction in your child. There have been many psychological studies which proved that internet addiction is harmful in so many ways.

A new study in china employed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the effects on the brain structure. The MRI’s of 17 internet addicted adolescents and 16  non-addicted adolescents were compared, and the research brought a considerable disruption in the white matter i.e….The part of the brain that deals with the emotional intelligence, decision making, and self control. A measurement called fractional anisotropy (FA) was used which pictures the condition of the nerve fibres. Low FA refers to poor nerve fibre structure. The researchers quoted in the journal “Our findings suggest that IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder) demonstrated widespread reduction of FA in major white matter pathways and such abnormal white matter structure may be linked to some behavioural impairment.” The state of the brain that is found in the internet addicted people is similar to those pursuing drugs and alcohol.  Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, consultant psychiatrist at Imperial College London says “This type of research exploring the differences between normal brains and brains of people who suffer from internet addictions is groundbreaking as it makes clear neuroimaging links between internet addiction and other addictions such as alcohol, cocaine and cannabis amongst others.”Now, you must pay attention to the internet usage of your teen and take actions immediately before it alters their brain. What can you do to reduce the internet usage?

  • Encourage them for other activities… television, videogames, etc are an excellent alternative of the internet, but they too have their own consequences. We suggest that involving in physical activities, like outdoor or indoor games, cycling, etc is a much better way.
  • Indulge into reading and writing. Get your teens things and ideas that can help them grow creatively. Every teen has a highly creative side to their brain, which must be developed before it diminishes. Find out what interests your teen… Reading, writing, painting, pottery and a lot more choices.
  • Limit the internet usage, and keep a check on the time. Do not go for the luring unlimited usage plans. If you have a restriction by means of bills, you will not need to keep yelling all the time to turn it off.
  • Talk to them, about the consequences of internet. Teenagers are mostly wise enough to understand. Make them read the studies that reveal the major consequences of internet, like this one and I am sure…..They will limit their online time on their own.
  • Ask them to spend quality time with the family. With the working routines, it is a long tiring day at the end, but you must spend some time with your kids and ask them about their life.
  • Keep a check on the history. Teenagers are curious about their bodies and all other intriguing stuff, so it is okay to browse little weird things on the internet, but if it is becoming a regular item in history, you must take action. Moreover, the family filter is probably not the best idea as nowadays, kids are much more techno savvy than we imagine them to be.
  • If your teenager is being stubborn and rebellious, take help from a family friend, a relative, a teacher or anyone your teen respects a lot. Do not hesitate to seek professional counselling if things go beyond your control.