Is parenting style linked to Internet addiction?

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

Unfortunately, more and more kids and young adults every day are becoming addicted and parents all over the world are wondering what is to blame. They might ask: it peer pressure? Or is that they’re unhappy or struggling in school? Are they having a hard time fitting in? Is there trouble at home? Or, could it be that parenting style is one of the factors in pushing children toward technology and internet addiction?

A new study that recently came out of Greece shows that strict, unaffectionate parents more often than not had young adult children that were addicted or unhealthily attached to the Internet. The study surveyed 700 young adults in a questionnaire that discussed feelings of loneliness, sadness, anxiety, and Internet use, in addition to parenting styles that they lived under for the first 16 years of their life. There were indirect connections made to parenting styles and Internet addiction after surveying answers. In addition, results showed that 2% of men and 0.6% of women were severely addicted to the Internet. Those that remembered fathers or mothers that were controlling and uncaring were sadder and had greater difficulty relating to their peers than those who had parents that were loving with their children. Overall conclusions from the study were that parents should be made aware that there are negative consequences to harsh parenting styles, including damage to children and young adults’ mental and physical health. (1) 

Young adults that are continually online or those that turn to the Internet as a way to escape are often tense, detached from the real world, irritable, or have trouble sleeping. They often show signs of depression and have difficulty relating to people in social settings.  Does this sound like your child?

Parenting is hard work. There isn’t a manual on how to raise a child, unfortunately and for many parents, it’s a daily struggle to figure out how to positively mold and affect the lives of their children.  If your child is struggling with internet, gaming, or technology addiction, seek professional help. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but instead be willing to examine yourself as a parent and be willing to try new ways to reach your kids. Their mental and physical health is worth everything.

“Parenting Style Linked to Kids’ Internet Addiction.”  Fox January 17, 2014.  Accessed March 20, 2014.
By Brooke Strickland and Andrew Doan MD PhD