With kids ages 8 to 18 spending on average 44.5 hours per week in front of screens, parent are increasingly concerned that screen time is robbing them of real world experiences. Nearly 23% of youth report that they feel "addicted to video games" (31% of males, 13% of females.) These are the results of a new study of 1,178 U.S. children and teens (ages 8 to 18) conducted by Harris Interactive (2007) that documents a national prevalence rate of pathological video game use.
Dr. Douglas Gentile, Director of the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University reports, "Almost one out of every ten youth gamers shows enough symptoms of damage to their school, family, and psychological functioning to merit serious concern."
Beyond gaming, kids are filling their free time with other Internet activities: social networking, instant messaging (IM), blogging, downloading etc.. Dr. Kimberly Young, Director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, identified the following potential warning signs for children with pathological Internet use:
Loses track of time while online
Sacrifices needed hours of sleep to spend time online
Becomes agitated or angry when online time is interrupted
Checks email several times a day
Becomes irritable if not allowed access to the Internet
Spends time online in place of homework or chores
Prefers to spend time online rather than with friends or family
Disobeys time limits that have been set for Internet usage
Lies about amount of time spent online or "sneaks" online when no one is around
Forms new relationships with people he or she has met online
Seems preoccupied with getting back online when away from the computer
Loses interest in activities that were enjoyable before he or she had online access
Becomes irritable, moody or depressed when not online
Reprinted with the permission of the iKeepSafe Coalition. © 2006 iKeepSafe Coalition. All Rights Reserved.
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