What are signs my child is in trouble online?

Michele Borba

Watch for behaviors that are not typical for your child that could mean Internet troubles. Here are a few signs to watch for:

  • Look for troublesome, marked changes in your teen’s behavior or personality that persist and are different from his “normal”
  • Withdraws from friends or falls behind in schoolwork
  • Trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, excessively moody or crying, seems depressed or sullen
  • Suspicious phone calls, e-mails, and packages arrive at home
  • Your credit card statement lists suspicious purchases
  • Spends unusually and longer hours online in a more tense pensive tone
  • Recoils in horror if asked to show a text or activity; avoids discussions about Internet activity
  • Refuses to allow access or nervous when you view his online profile together
  • Jumps, nervous, or upset when an email or text comes in
  • Sneaky or secretive: stops typing, covers screen, hits delete, shuts computer when you’re close
  • Changes passwords frequently; doesn’t want to give you his user name/password; uses multiple online accounts or an account that is not their own
  • Unusually upset if cannot use the computer
  • Laughs excessively while using the computer
  • Overly happy when gets off the computer (may be starting a relationship with someone online)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.