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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New brain study on addiction to violent video games.

The age old debate over the effects of video games on the brain is back. On Monday, the Radiological Society of North America released information on a new research that shows violent video games can effect the brain. At the same time, News.com Australia reported that mental health professionals in Australia are considering video game addiction and internet addition as official mental disorders.
These studies are far from definitive, given the large volume of game studies over the years. But if games are classified as harmful or addictive, that could limit their reach. Parents might proactively decide to crack down on violent video games, which have become a big part of the mass market. Studies like this are a force that could shove gamers back into the closet.
The new research conducted by the RSNA took 22 young men, ages 18 to 29, and instructed 11 of the 22 males to play 10 hours of violent video games for one week and then stop playing completely the second week. Then, the other 11 men were instructed to not play any violent video games throughout the two week period.
Before, during and after the two week period, the subjects were given tests via MRI’s to monitor their brain function. The results showed that after the week of game play, there was less activity in the left inferior frontal lobe during the emotional test and less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex during the counting test. Yang Wang, a medical doctor and an assistant research professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine said, “These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long term effect on brain functioning.”
While these findings are coming to light, mental health professionals in Australia are being asked by parents to include video game addiction and internet addiction in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The professionals might declare the  addictions as an official disorder called pathological internet misuse. If that happens, parents are hoping this will encourage further study on the matter.
The news stirs up old memories of the negative stigma often associated with video games. As video games jump into the mainstream more and more every year, studies and alleged official disorders like the ones mentioned are likely to pop up from time to time and thwart the advance of games as a universal medium. It also shows that, despite a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, the issue of violent video games is far from dead.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A new study Pew Institute finds most teens have seen bad behavior on social media sites:survey

The majority of teenagers who use social networking websites say their peers are mostly kind to one another online, but 88% still say they've witnessed people being mean and cruel on such sites, according to a new study. Fifteen percent say they've been the target of bad behavior on social media sites.
The findings come from a report called "Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites: How American teens navigate the new world of 'digital citizenship,'" which is based on seven focus groups with teens and a survey of 799 youths 12 to 17 and their parents.
The study, conducted by Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, found that social media use is widespread among teens, with 95% of 12- to 17-year-olds in the survey saying they use the Internet. Of those, 80% said they use social media sites.
When it comes to bad conduct online, 80% of teen social media users in the survey said they have defended a victim of meanness and cruelty and 79% said they have told someone to stop mean behavior on a social network site. However, 21% said they have joined in on the harassment.
"Social networking sites have created new spaces for teens to interact, and they witness a mixture of altruism and cruelty," said Amanda Lenhart, the study's lead author. "For most teens, these are exciting and rewarding spaces. But the majority have also seen a darker side."
Teens in the survey said they received advice about online safety from a variety of people. Parents were the top source, with 86% saying they have received advice from their parents about how to use the Internet safely and responsibly, and 70% said they have received advice from a teacher or other adult at school.
Teens in the survey reported that parents were also the biggest influence on shaping what they think is appropriate or inappropriate behavior when going online or using a cellphone. At the same time, 18% saidthat no one has influenced them about their attitudes toward online behavior.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Addiction to social networking causes serious mental health issues according to a new study

The Millennial Generation’s, also known as the Me Generation, biggest distinguishing feature is the tech-savvy abilities of its members. Many students cannot remember a time when there was no internet, no cell phones, and most importantly, no Facebook or Twitter. This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing; it seems to have gone from a privilege to a given. There are repercussions to constantly monitoring social networking sites that many students are unaware of and that pose significant health problems. One of them is FTAD, Facebook/Twitter Addiction Disorder.
Recent research in the area of addiction has shown that four in five students suffer from significant mental and physical distress, panic, confusion and extreme isolation when forced to unplug from technology for an entire day. The study called “Unplugged” was jointly led by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA) and the Salzburg Academy. The global experiment was done at 10 universities last year and showed students suffering withdrawal symptoms similar to those associated with drug addictions when quitting “cold turkey.”  The conclusion provided a majority of almost 1,000 college students, in places like China, Britain, and America, who were unable to voluntarily avoid their gadgets for one full day.
One of the American students confessed their overpowering cravings were similar to the “itching like a crackhead,” giving new meaning to the nickname for the popular phone Blackberry: Crackberry. Most of the symptoms of addiction revolve around depression, anxiety, and isolation from the lack of news of what peers are doing.
There is no doubt of the popularity of social networking sites which allow many people to fulfill their basic social needs of feeling loved, accepted and part of a group. Dr. Michael Fenichel attributes the phenomenon of Facebook addiction to “the instant texting component the ability to post pictures and videos, play pop-psychology and pop-culture games and quizzes (applications), follow (slightly less than on Twitter) the every move, decision, feeling, and random thought of everyone in countless networks, and also maintain a homepage/wall for all to see and visit, makes this the best recipe for significant behavioral addiction, as it fills a large and ‘normal’ part of our lives.”
Student Emily Surovy, a sophomore, is an avid Twitter user who says, “[Twitter] puts you on a more personal level with people you’d never talk to in real life and makes you realize that they [celebrities] are people too.”
So far there have been six criteria identified in diagnosing FTAD. At least two or three must be present at any time during a 5-6 month period in order to be diagnosed. The criteria are:
1.      Tolerance, referring to the increasing amounts of time spent of Facebook and Twitter to achieve satisfaction.
2.      After trying to “get rid of Facebook,” it causes distress or impairs social, personal, or occupational functions such as the speed of your internet browser or the amount of time you spend obsessing about who wrote what on your wall.
3.      Important social or recreational activities are greatly reduced and/or migrated to Facebook or Twitter. (Socializing with friends has moved from hanging out in a dorm to only conversing through the Facebook chat feature.)
4.      If you express your affection for your boyfriend/girlfriend through Twitter or Facebook, or use the applications on Facebook to simulate a real date such as the FB Café World.
5.      You have no idea who 8 of the 10 people in your friends list are and you have more than a 1000 friends.
6.      You invite anyone you have met to become friends on Facebook and any notifications, messages, and invites give you a lift in your mood because you feel loved or popular.
As with any addiction, it is no laughing matter and should be addressed as quickly as possible. Gradually wean yourself off of Facebook and Twitter by cancelling the text message notifications, spend a set amount of time on each a day (no more, no less), hang out with friends in person, and call instead of messaging your friends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Dangers of Internet Gambling among Teenagers

Internet Gambling has become an increasingly popular form of gaming.  Through online web sites, users can gamble through interactive television and mobile phones. The convenience of 24-hour access, the ease of setting up an online account and the variety of sites from traditional betting, to casino gambling, to lotteries - makes Internet gambling very appealing.
Individuals who start experiencing a problem with Internet gambling become preoccupied with gambling creating a disruption in their personal, family, and social aspects of their lives. Studies found that teen-aged Internet gamblers were more likely to have a serious gambling than other gamblers. Teen-aged Internet gamblers were also more likely to suffer from health and emotional problems such as substance abuse, circulatory disease, depression, and risky sexual behaviors.  According to the National Gambling Impact Commission, young children and teenagers are at the greatest risk to develop a problem with Internet gambling.  They estimated that 16-24 year old males comprise 4% of Internet gamblers and 11-18 year old males comprise 4-7% of Internet gamblers, a significant increase with advent of online casinos (www.ncalg.org). 
Brad, a 19-year old math major at the University of Minnesota lost his scholarship and had to resign from school because of his addiction to online gambling. “I didn’t start out thinking I would get so hooked,” he explained. “I started playing Texas Hold ‘Em after watching a poker show on TV. It was just something I did for fun. Then, I started staying up late, missing classes, spending tons of money; all my time was spent playing the game. It was more than winning and losing money. To be a good player, you’ve got to be smart and I liked the intellectual challenge and competitiveness of the game.”
Brad’s mother became concerned when she discovered Brad’s falling grades.
“I knew it was about the computer,” she said. “But no one seemed to believe me. A counselor at his school told me that it was just a phase but this was more than just a phase.” Parents and partners are usually the first to notice a loved one’s online gambling habit and the range of behaviors is similar to those for any type of gambling addiction:
  • Showing increased excitement when going online to find new gambling spots;
  • Rearranging schedules to permit more time for online gambling activities;
  • Feeling that a change in online gambling activities will bring good luck and subsequently increasing the size of their bets;
  • Chasing lost bets to try to catch up;
  • Placing larger bets and betting more frequently;
  • Boasting about winning and minimizing losses.
  • Going online to gamble when faced with a crisis or a stressful situation.
For the addict, these symptoms also result in changes in the person’s personality and routine behaviors. Suddenly there are unexplained absences from work, home, or other responsibilities. The addict becomes secretive, conceals or attempts to conceal how his or her time is spent at the computer, and outright lies about the real nature of his or her computer activity. Often, the gambling addict experiences mood swings, showing extreme highs when they win and extreme lows when they lose. Values go by the wayside and many violate their own principles. They begin to hide money, make secret loans, or make unusual, sporadic, or unexplained withdrawals from family bank accounts. Suddenly they find themselves capable of or actually stealing money from friends and family—then lying about it—in order to bet more, pay off debts, or recoup losses. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Internet Addiction Among College Students: 10 Startling Trends

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a college campus that doesn’t have Internet. College students use the Internet for research, communication, and other educational activities. Of course, students also use the Internet for social media, news, and even online gambling, activities that can be fun and even enriching, but when overused, become a real problem. Some college students suffer from Internet addiction, unable to step away from the computer or put down mobile devices even for a day. Eighty-four percent of college counselors agree that Internet Addiction Disorder is legitimate, but at the same time, 93% of them have not been fully trained to diagnose Internet addiction, and 94% have insufficient training for Internet addiction treatment. The result? Falling grades, physical problems, and even clinical addiction. Internet addiction is a real problem for college students, and we’ve shared several trends that are worrisome.

    1.  Students have feelings similar to drug and alcohol addiction

  1. Two hundred students were asked to abstain from all media for 24 hours, and were then asked to blog about their experiences. The words the students used to describe their feelings during the restriction period were typically the same words associated with a substance abuse addiction: "withdrawal, frantically craving, very anxious, antsy, miserable, jittery, crazy." It seems that these students are addicted to media, particularly in its online form. This is disturbing, but not surprising, as studies have already shown that Google can actually change your brain.
  2. College students are especially susceptible to Internet Behavior Dependence

    A college student case study revealed that college students are a "population of special concern" when it comes to Internet addiction, and they are disproportionately vulnerable due to psychological and environmental factors in their lives. When faced with an Internet addiction, college students have a hard time forming their identity and building intimate relationships. Online, students can "develop relationships devoid of the anxiety found in face-to-face relationships," and they "can take on any persona they desire, without fear of judgment on appearance or personal mannerism, and can avoid racial and gender prejudice." This type of adaptive behavior tends to diminish the social capacity of college students, leaving them unprepared for the development of real world relationships.
  3. Online poker is prevalent on college campuses

    Online poker joins two addictions together: gambling and online interaction, so its use on college campuses is especially worrisome. The University of Pennsylvania predicts that over 20% of college students play online poker at least once a month, and you can typically see lots of students playing online poker on a college campus. Although it can be a fun game, and many students may be able to maintain healthy lives while enjoying playing online poker, some simply can’t. At the University of Pennsylvania, researchers noted that among college gamblers that played weekly, over half of them had a serious problem with the habit. In some cases, students fail out of classes or gamble their tuition away, even turning to crime to pay debts created by online poker.
  4. Students can’t go 24 hours without the Internet

    When 1,000 college students took part in an international study on electronic media, they were asked to go without media for 24 hours. But many students in the study were not up to the challenge. A majority of students did not actually go without media for 24 hours, giving in and checking in with their phones or email. Students confessed, "I sat in my bed and stared blankly. I had nothing to do," and "Media is my drug; without it I was lost. How could I survive 24 hours without it?" The study revealed a physical dependency on media, especially Facebook and mobile phones. Students recognized that typing the address for their favorite sites had become muscle memory: "It was amazing to me though how easily programmed my fingers were to instantly start typing "f-a-c-e" in the search bar. It’s now muscle memory, or instinctual, to log into Facebook as the first step of Internet browsing." Other students recognized physical signs of withdrawal, sharing that "I would feel irritable, tense, restless and anxious when I could not use my mobile phone. When I couldn’t communicate with my friends, I felt so lonely, as if I was in a small cage in a solitary island."
  5. Students are surfing, not studying

    Students who spend a lot of time online are likely to neglect their studies. In many cases, students who performed well in school before developing an Internet addiction allowed their grades to crash, only then realizing the impact of Internet dependency. Counselors across the US have identified the problems of excessive Internet use, including: lack of sleep and excess fatigue, declining grades, less investment in relationships with a boyfriend or girlfriend, withdrawal from all campus social activities and events, general apathy, edginess, or irritability when off-line, and rationalizing that what they learn on the Internet is superior to their classes. Students may not realize the problem until serious trouble happens: "They flunk out of college. Their real-life girlfriend breaks up with them because all they ever want to do is play on the Net. Their parents explode when they find out their huge investment in their child’s college education is going to support all-night Internet sessions." By then, it may be too late to recover the damage.
  6. The Internet is everywhere

    Ninety-eight percent of students own a digital device. This prevalence throws gasoline on a spark: students who are already susceptible to Internet addiction have access online in computer labs, their dorm, and other places around campus, and on top of that, they have the Internet in their pocket at all times. Knowing this, it’s not surprising to find out that 38% of students say they can’t go more than 10 minutes without using a digital device, contributing to an ever-present existence of the Internet on campus.
  7. Internet use can physically change your brain

    In a study of Chinese college students who were online for 10 hours a day, six days a week, morphological changes in the structure of their brains were noted. Scientists found reductions in the size of the "dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, rostral anterior cingulate cortex, supplementary motor area and parts of the cerebellum as high as 10-20%." Although at the same time, there was an increase in the "density of the right parahippocampal gyrus and a spot called the left posterior limb of the internal capsule." These changes happen to the detriment of short term memory and decision-making abilities.
  8. Many students need intervention and treatment for their addiction, and it can lead to depression

    We might joke about "Crackberries," but for some, the Internet is truly a significant concern. A study published in BMC Medicine indicated that 4% of the students who participated in their survey met the criteria for having a problem with online addiction. But perhaps the more disturbing fact from this study is that there is a "significant association between pathological Internet use and depression in college students," putting a population that is already at risk for mental instability in a precarious position.
  9. Cyberbullies go to college, too

    Although most of the news on cyberbullying focuses on adolescents, the fact is that cyberbullies exist on the college campus as well. It’s not surprising, considering how much time students spend online, and how much impact a college student’s online presence can have. In fact, a University of New Hampshire study reported that one in 10 students was abused online. College students have been the target of sexually violent rants, and one professor at BU had to persuade Facebook to remove his page, which he did not set up himself. Researchers believe that students are especially vulnerable to cyberstalking because "they live in a relatively closed community where class schedules, phones, and e-mails are easy to find." And sites like Rate My Professors may be helpful for students choosing classes, but some comments may be hurtful for faculty members. Thierry Guedj, adjunct professor of psychology at Metropolitan College reports, "It really hurts faculty members badly when they read these things about themselves online. People have become quite depressed about it."
  10. Tech conditions can be dangerous to your health

    College Candy’s list of tech conditions that can be dangerous to your health seems to be written as a joke, citing "Blackberry Neck," and "Glazey Dazey Lazy Eye," but these conditions really can be a problem. Using the Internet too much can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, a decline in physical fitness, and as a result, weight gain. Heavy users report carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and headaches. Sleep disturbances can also stem from Internet addiction, as Internet use may lead to later bedtimes and less restful sleep. Additionally, researchers believe that the light from computer screens may affect circadian rhythms, creating a risk factor for insomnia.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

South Korea Sets Up Internet Addiction Prevention Clinic

Internet addiction clinics aren’t exactly a new thing, but South Korea has found the problem of Internet addiction to be so pervasive that they have set up a clinic not to deal with addiction, but to prevent it. StarCraft is a huge deal in South Korea to the extent that it is a professional sport, and it seems that this national obsession, in conjunction with the Internet at large, is having a negative affect on the nation’s youth.
The children at the camp who show warning signs of becoming raging internetaholics spend their time playing reality-based games, taking hikes, reading books and going to counseling sessions, all without the aid of internetahol. Because large-scale Internet connectivity and personal computers are relatively new to South Korea, many parents are simply at a loss to help their children find a healthy balance.
Doctors at the camp find that there are two distinct kinds of potential addicts, those who are in love with the anonymity of the Internet and those that enjoy the power and the vicarously violent behavior games provide. Both of these categories, of course, fit into the super category escapists who, for one reason or another, prefer the “wide web” part of the world. Patients at the camp often play video games to the exclusion of sleep and bathroom breaks, and according toGeek.com, one patient expressed that he gets angry when his parents call him away from the computer and that he knows this is bad but stopping is “too hard,” which is why he’s looking for help.
Clearly, the South Koreans see Internet addiction as a serious problem, which is good for them because it can be, especially when the phenomenon has hit so hard, so fast and kids are involved. It is certainly better to be safe than sorry, but as someone who was once a child who exhibited those symptoms at one point or another and turned out fine (depending on who you who you ask), this might be overkill. While South Korea seems advanced in their treatment and proactive response to Internet addiction, the US might learn from these measures to examine the toll Internet addiction has in America. While the US still seems skeptical about the existence of Internet addiction, prevention programs could be developed within our schools to reduce the amount of isolation from family that Internet use involves.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Do support groups help in addiction recovery?

While there is no direct evidence that support groups raise cure rates or

help patients physically overcome their disease, there is little question

that support groups provide the kind of hope, information, charity, love and

basic human contact that improve one's quality of life. Those suffering from

addiction and their loved ones are often encouraged to attend and/or participate

in a support group, in part because of the priceless information they find. This is

especially true in addiction support groups. Additionally, when one being their

journey of recovery, they often run straight to the internet, where it can quickly

become overwhelming. A support group is a place that provides a continuity of

information and individuals—whether it's in person hosted by a 12 step

program, or hosted by another organization, or whether it's online at such sites

as supportgroups.com, where the motto nicely sums up what an online support

group is all about: "A helping hand on demand." While in your recovery, the

reality is that the most valuable people in your life will probably include the

new friends you meet in a addiction support group—empathetic people who

know what you're going through and can give you reassurance or information or

just make you laugh at the right time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Top 10 iOS Apps for Social Media Addicts

I came across an article that discussed the most addicting apps related to the social media phenomena. Here is a list of the apps that will enhance your experience on those platforms and keep you connecting with all your friends and followers. Here are the current top ten apps that will do that for you.

1.Dragon Dictation – The premier in speech recognition software has created social media integration in Nuance’s 11.5 version of Dragon Naturally Speaking. Now, you can simply speak your tweet or Facebook status update into your iphone and say ‘Post to Twitter’ or ‘Post to Facebook’ and it’s done without ever touching your keypad. You can search Twitter just as easily. Simply say…’Search Twitter for vacation’.

2.Friendly for Facebook – This iPad app by Oecoway, Inc provides a full-screen view of Facebook photos and updates, with swipe scrolling. The best way to view Facebook.

3.Flowd – The entertainment social media app for music lovers. Follow your favorite music artists and share your favorite music venues with others using this location based app from Digas.

4.Justin.tv – Social media addicts will love the ability to interact with other viewers when watching one of the many channels available on Justin.tv, or your own live streaming video.

5.Twitter – There isn’t a true social media addict who doesn’t have the Twitter app on the iphone, it is an absolute necessity. It’s searchability is one of Twitter’s greatest features, allowing users to join in conversations of interest to them.

6.Hootsuite – Keep all your social networks in one place by using the Hootsuite dashboard. Preschedule postings to each of your different networks and setup columns for specific searches or feeds.

7.Trillian – Cerulean Studios has created the ultimate app for instant messaging. It combines all your different IM’s into one platform. Friends on Yahoo, Windows Live, Google Talk and several other IM’s will all show up in your Trillian. No need to log into different services. Plus you can begin a chat in Trillian on your desktop and then continue it on your iphone.

8.Tweetdeck – A fully customizable app that allows you to add columns and feeds from your social networks, post to your networks and keep up to date, on the go.

9.Tumblr – Tumblr has combined blogging and social networking into one world. Interactive Q&A sessions with your followers is about as social as you get on a blogging platform, and Tumblr provides that. It also allows privacy settings per post, or for your entire blog.

10.Tapatalk – Quoord Systems Unlimited realized that social network addicts also participate in forums. Tapatalk creates the mobile app for accessing and contributing to those forums from your iphone.

New apps are being developed on a regular basis. Some are great additions, and others need a bit more work from their developers. Your choices will continue to grow with time, of that you can be certain.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

10 Disadvantages to Allowing Kids to Have Cell Phones in School

Everyone, it seems, has a cell phone, including kids. Young people rely on their cells for communication with parents and friends, entertainment with games and music downloads, the list goes on and on. And like most adults, children take their cell phones with them everywhere they go, even into their classrooms at school. This situation has brought about considerable debate between school administrations and parents and students as to how cell phone use in schools should be handled. Here are 10 disadvantages to allowing kids to have cell phones in schools.
  1. Distraction for the group: A ringing phone, or beeping text, or buzzing “reminder” are all distracting sounds that disrupt the classroom. School is a child’s “work” and if cell phones are going off, how much work is anyone getting done? It’s bound to happen- people forget to silence their phones, and then everyone is distracted.
  2. Distraction for the individual: So, let’s say, for instance, that the cell phone is silenced or set to “vibrate only.” The rest of the class may not be bothered by the phone, but the person holding the phone certainly will be. Every time a message comes in or a phone vibrates, the first reaction is to stop what one is doing, including listening to a teacher present a lesson, and answer the call, or check the text. Learning can only be hampered by allowing this type of distraction.
  3. Reduction in Learning: Even if cell phone use could be limited in a school, say during lunch and study hall time, there is still an environment of expectation that someone will call or text. Students are focusing on their phones and messages during times when prior to cell phones, students would talk about their lessons or homework for the day.
  4. Disrespectful: Even if it is lunchtime or between classes, it’s rude to spend time texting or talking on a cell phone. Students need to develop face to face relationships, and if they spend a majority of their time at school communicating on their cell phones, they are not learning how to build a relationship in person.
  5. Cheating: Cell phones offer a completely new way for students to cheat on tests and assignments. Students can text answers to each other while sitting in the same classroom. A student in a morning class can take a picture of the test questions with their phone/camera and text it to a friend who has the class in the afternoon allowing for more opportunities to cheat. A better policy is to just not allow cell phones in schools.
  6. Theft: Cell phones are attractive, full of cool technology and expensive. Everyone wants the latest model. Schools that allow students to have cell phones in school have seen a tremendous increase in theft complaints. Best to leave them at home or in a locked car to prevent these thefts.
  7. Loss: The multitasking student has a lot to keep track of and having a cell phone in school is just one more thing. It can get expensive to replace that lost, misplaced, or forgotten cell phone.
  8. Breakage: Schools are not the safest places for cell phones. Students bump into each other, they slam books and bags into lockers. Things fall on the floor. This is an environment where a cell phone can be damaged. With the expense involved in purchasing a cell phone, it is best to leave it out of the school.
  9. Invasion of privacy: Many models of cell phones come with cameras. Sometimes unscrupulous students will take pictures of other students, in the locker room, for instance, and use those pictures to instigate harassment or bullying.
  10. Fueling the rumor mill: in the old game “telephone”, a message was whispered into the ear of a child who then passes that message on by whispering into the ear of the next child, and so on, until all students have heard the message. When the last person hears the message, he or she stands up and repeats the message to the rest of the class, finding much to his dismay that his final story bears little resemblance to the message as it began. Today’s “telephone” game is similar and texting messages can spread through students much faster, oftentimes setting off unnecessary and unfounded rumors and fears.
With easily accessible technology that cell phones offer, comes a whole new world of issues and problems for schools. If students leave their cell phones home and school boards create policies disallowing their use in schools, Pandora’s box of cell phone problems will not be opened.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

10 Concerns Parents Should Have About Computers in Kids Rooms

Many kids have their own cell phones and televisions. As computers have come down in price, parents can often afford to provide kids with their own computer as well. However, parents should give some thought to where their kid’s computers should be located. Your kid’s bedroom may not be the best choice.
  1. Skype – Most computers today come with webcams, and Skype can be downloaded free. With this combination, your child can video chat for free with friends, relatives and, uh, strangers. The video communication is two-way. That means, whoever is on the other end will be peering directly into your home, more specifically into your child’s bedroom.
  2. Chatrooms – Chatrooms have always been a bit unsafe for children to visit on the internet. It is easy for adults to disguise themselves as kids or for predators to present themselves as harmless and friendly. These situations can be more difficult to monitor when the computer is located in your child’s bedroom.
  3. Screen time – Easy access can mean too much access. Between school and home, video games, TV, movies and surfing the net, kids spend way too much time in front of screens these days. Keeping it out of the bedroom can help cut down on the screen time.
  4. Sharing – If your kids hangout in their room with friends, their friends will inevitably end up using the computer there. It can be difficult enough to monitor your own child’s computer activity, you don’t want to take responsibility for other people’s children too.
  5. Youtube – Creating videos and posting them to Youtube or facebook to share with their friends has become a very common source of entertainment for kids. It has also gotten kids in serious trouble in some circumstances. This is less likely to happen if the computer is in public family space.
  6. Environment – Computers all have fans to keep them cool. These fans can also attract dust to the computer and hinder its performance. Unless your child actually keeps their room clean and tidy, the physical environment may not be the best for a computer.
  7. Surfing – Unless you are comfortable with your child wandering alone in any and all neighborhoods of a large city, you shouldn’t be comfortable allowing them to roam freely around the internet by themselves. There are plenty of dangers there of various types.
  8. Maintenance – Although most kids know more than their parents about computers, they still don’t always take care of things the way they should, even it only means clicking a mouse. They may delay critical updates and warnings that are needed to keep their computer functioning properly. You are less likely to realize this until it is too late, if the computer resides in their bedroom.
  9. Printing – If they use their computer for doing homework, then they will likely need to print material as well. That means either putting a printer in their room, going through the hassle of transferring files from one computer to another to print or creating the ability to do that over your home network.
  10. Video Chat – Even if your child doesn’t turn on their webcam, they may access sites where others are using theirs, such as chat roulette sites. On these sites, you never know what or who is going to appear on your screen next. X rated scenes are not uncommon. Just another reason to keep the computer where it is easy for you to monitor the screen.
Kids are kids. They need their parents to take on the responsibility of watching out for them and not allowing too much freedom. They’ll have time enough for internet ‘privacy’, once they’re out on their own.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Statistics on Children Addicted to the Internet

Researchers at the Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) used the Parent-Child Internet Addiction Test converting it into a Mandarin version for children. They conducted the test to subjects who were 11 or 12 years old, and came up with basic result as below.

1. Based on the total test score, CWLF found that 9.9% of children are suspected to have internet addiction.

2. CWLF found that if percentage of children who answered “Often” and “Always” are combined, the top two statements are “Children spent longer time on Internet than expected” (31%) and “Children stated father or mother complained children had spent too much time online (27.1%).” It shows that children lack self-control when they use computer. They cannot manage time well and end up spending too much time on using computer.
Parent-child Internet addiction test
%of answering often and always
1. How often do you disobey time limits set by your parents for on-line use?
2. How often do your parents complain about the amount of time you spend on-line?
3. How often do you form new relationships with fellow on-line users?
4. How often are you preoccupied with being back on-line when off-line?
5. How often do you check your e-mail before doing something else?
6. How often do you neglect your household chores to spend more time on-line?
7. How often do you spend time alone in your room playing on the computer?
8. How often do you prefer to spend time on-line rather than with the rest of your family?
9. How often do you become defensive or secretive when asked what you are doing on-line?
10. How often do you feel depressed, moody, or nervous when off-line which seems to go away once back on-line?
11. How often do your grades suffer because of the amount of time you spend on-line?
12. How often do you seem more tired and fatigued than you do before the Internet came along?
13. How often do you choose to spend time on-line rather than doing once enjoyed hobbies and/or outside interests?
14. How often do you snap, yell, or act annoyed if bothered while on-line?
15. How often have you been caught sneaking on-line against your parent’s wishes?
16. How often do you seem withdrawn from others since discovering the Internet?
17. How often do you choose to spend more time on-line than going out with friends?
18. How often do you become angry or belligerent when your parents place time limits on how much time you are allowed to spend on-line?
19. How often do you throw tantrums with your parent’s interference about how long you spend on-line?
20. How often do you receive strange phone calls from new "on-line" friends?

Monday, March 07, 2011

Text addiction and time management

A great article to share on who to prevent problems related to text addiction and addictive cell phone usage.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chinese Man Dies After 3-day Video Game Binge at Internet Cafe

A Chinese man dies after a three-day video game binge.
This is such a sad news, but there are times when people are desperately addicted to these games, and Internet addiction is a huge problem in China.
What is especially odd about this case is that the man was at an Internet café outside of Beijing. During the three-day video game binge, the man did not sleep, and he ate very little.
How could this happen in a public place? You would think that somebody would have stopped this man, before he got to the point of death.
China continues to battle Internet addiction. Researchers believe that there are tens of millions of Chinese who suffer from this illness. Even in the U.S., people tend to spend a lot of time online.
The Chinese man slipped into a coma right inside the Internet café. Once that happened, he was rushed to a clinic, but he died shortly after he arrived. Proving further evidence of the man’s addiction, authorities say he had spent over $1,500 in the past month just on Internet gaming.
Despite his death occurring in the café, police have ruled out the possibility of murder, even though they have taken several computers from the shop as part of their investigation. Apparently, the shop was quite small, with only six computers. That makes it even more unbelievable that this man was allowed to die after a three-day video game binge.