“My teenage son is addicted to the internet”

My son is an intelligent, polite 14 year old doing well at his school. We row over only one thing – his constant internet use. When I have tackled him about staying up late into the night to use it he has lied to me – something he has never done before. His only after-school activity is to mix with other online addicts. I’ve tried bribery, pleading, threats to ground him. None of them work for more than 24 hours. Lack of sleep will ruin his academic chances and I don’t know what to do. Gail

Denise says:

If it’s any consolation, you are not alone in this problem. Every week I hear from desperate mothers, leaving their beds at 3 or 4am to find a teenager glued to a screen. I’m afraid the only thing that works, in my opinion, is to reason with him. You may have to accept a greater degree of IT involvement than you would like and he will have to agree to limit his use, particularly after midnight. But first you have to make him see that your arguments are soundly based. Losing sleep WILL ruin his academic chances, socialising only with other fanatics WILL limit his social life. If you are both willing to compromise the problem can be solved. If not, I would have a word with his school, who must be aware of this problem on a larger scale.

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