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Cyberjunkies Start Early
Parents Respond By Setting Limits

baby playing with a laptop computerParents are getting concerned. Kids are putting on weight, neglecting study time and skipping meals.

The culprit? Hours spent online chatting with friends or playing games.

The solution is not so simple.

For years parents have been rushing to get their children wired - to keep them on the right side of the "Digital Divide". Reports that Internet skills are needed to succeed in the dawning Information Age are enough to motivate parents to provide access to this tool.

Playground gossip focuses on whose kids are playing the more advanced toddler games. Parents brag that their kids know more about the Internet than they do.

But it seems the honeymoon is over... the dangers of this new technology are becoming easier to see. Stalkers may target kids who spend time in chat rooms or at social networks while hours spent online cut into other activities that kids need for healthy, well balanced development.

Families notice more squabbling over who gets to use the computer and less time spent on homework and other off line projects. While no one seems to be complaining that the Internet is cutting down on the time teens spend phoning friends, most other activities seem to be getting ignored by the wired generation.

More around the Web:Kid's computer

How to monitor your
child's Internet usage

Kid-friendly Internet browsers

Parents and professionals are beginning to voice concerns about the effects of unlimited computer access - and many are taking steps to integrate Internet time with other real life activities that involve (yes!) human interaction and physcial exercise.

If you notice that your brilliant cyberkid is eating dinner at the computer (or with their smartphone or iPad) and hasn't spoken to anyone in the family in months, perhaps it's time to pull the plug or monitor the time being spent in front of the screen.

also see -> Safe Web Surfing for Kids

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