Take Melanie (not her real name), a sixteen-year-old Greenwich Village student, who spent up to seven hours a day updating her Face book page and instant messaging with friends. Most stories about adolescents and the internet underscore the very real dangers of cyberbullies, sexual predators, and on-line scams that imperil unsuspecting, vulnerable teens. All of this access can be dangerous; those who abuse the internet can become trapped in a cyber riptide of sorts, pulled in further and further as their time on-line increases, their school performance declines, and their family and peer relationships begin to suffer.For people in this age group, internet use is frequently intertwined with sex, gambling, eating disorders, or drug problems, as well as depression or anxiety, according to Dr.Joanne Fishman, Clinical Director of the New York City office of Four Winds Hospital.Eric Teitel, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Manhattan, and a faculty member of the NYU School of Medicine.In older adolescents (18-25), the profile might differ-though just as with a younger adolescent you might first notice absenteeism from work or school.
Or they might become so, if forced to give up their habit."Parents might first notice slippage in school performance.They eventually throw up their hands when any attempt to regulate computer use or limit access quickly devolves into defiance and angry outbursts," says Dr.On the other end of the continuum are the isolated, socially anxious teens.They might be teased, bullied, and avoid school altogether.