My friend spends all his free time playing games online. Is he addicted?
Kids often use the Internet for many things—doing research for homework, exploring new cultures, and building relationships with other kids. Kids who are shy in person may feel more comfortable initially connecting with people over the Internet. Excessive computer use, however, might further isolate shy kids from their friends. Or it can take away from other activities such as homework, exercise, sleep, or spending time with others. Parents and teachers are often unaware that a child has an Internet problem until it is serious, because it is easy to hide online activity and because Internet addiction is not yet widely recognized. You may want to talk to your friend and his parents; have an adult accompany you if you feel you need support. It is important to promote healthy Internet use in your home, whether through limiting online time, balancing computer time with physical and social activities, or making sure your Internet-connected computer is in a public space in your home.