One of the chief factors involved here is the reversal of general hierarchies and boundaries in the family; for the first time in history kids know about a topic better than their parents and this creates and knowledge (and therefore power) imbalance in the family system; for our kids, whom I call Generation-D, this technology, is like a toaster is to those of us who were not weaned on digital media and video game technology. This lack of knowledge can be a complicating factor when parents attempt to understand or intervene with their children’s Internet and video game use. Specialized treatments are necessary and appropriate for those children, adolescents, young adults, as well as adults, to address this growing problem. Although more research is clearly needed, from what I see from around this country there is clear and growing issue with overuse, abuse, and compulsive use of many forms of Internet and digital media technology—especially video games.
Parents have to learn and become familiar with Internet and Digital Media Technology. They need to understand what their children are doing and also try to participate (friending on Facebook), playing some games, and being generally aware of what their kids are doing online, Further, there needs to be limits set on the amount and type of Internet use and set clear limits, rules, and boundaries about this. Kids (and Adults) are unable to accurately judge accurately the amount of time they spend online or on digital media devices and further we are unconscious being reinforced via intermittent reinforcement so in a sense t is very easy to abuse or overuse the technology. Sometimes the limits needs to be backed up with electronic limits and blocks set on your cell phone provider or Internet providers system,, and there are many frees standing software programs to aid in this process.
Reasonable use limits are variable depending upon how imbalanced a child’s life has become—1-3 hours a day on weekdays is fair general rule of e-time or screen time but with everything being consumed on a screen it’s hard to hold to that rule; also if the child is doing well in all other life-spheres, eg.school work, exercise, sports, real-time social interaction, family, etc than limits may NOT be as essential. The idea is balanced and conscious use. The internet is powerful, and at best highly compelling and dissociative and at worst down-right addictive . What limits set for your child should be part of your overall parenting plan but ACTIVE awareness and participation by the parents is key and crucial. Ignoring it can have serious negative consequences. All limits and rules need to be flexed and changed depending on life circumstances and the child age and general psychological and educational functioning.