Posted on Tue 3rd of March at 3:15 pm
To many parents it seems as though children and young people are constantly online. Often they seem to be completing more than one task at a time; for example, downloading and listening to music while studying and chatting with friends or sending messages on their mobile phones.
The number of hours children and young people spend online can vary significantly. There is no guideline for the ‘right’ amount of time for children to spend online, however if their online behaviour appears to impact negatively on their behaviour or wellbeing, or that of the family, it may be time to discuss expectations and establish time limits.
How much is too much?
Noticeable changes in the online and offline behaviour of children and young people can be indicators of excessive internet use. These include:
-online activities interfering with general health and wellbeing
-seeming obsessed with particular websites or games
-appearing anxious or irritable when away from the computer
-spending increasing amounts of time online
-a decline in academic performance and
-seeming isolated or withdrawn from offline friends and activities.
Some of these indicators may be developmentally appropriate behaviours for young people, particularly teens. Alternatively, they may be indicators of other significant issues such as cyberbullying, friendship difficulties and mental health issues.
Where do I go for help?
Kids Helpline provides free, confidential online and phone counselling for 5-25 year olds.
1800 55 1800
eheadspace is for 12-25 year olds in need of support or worried about their mental health.
1800 650 890
If there is a threat to your child’s safety the police can help.