Are your kids addicted to the Internet? It may be your parenting style

Shereen Dindar
Contributing Writer
Shine On
Could parenting style be to blame for your children's addiction to the Internet? (Thinkstock)

Internet addition in children has been blamed on everything from a lack of friends to poor mental health, and now new research suggests it's related to a tough-love parenting style.

Greek researchers have found that Internet-addicted young adults are more likely to have experienced strict and unaffectionate parenting as children.

"In short, good parenting, including parental warmth and affection, that is caring and protective parents, has been associated with lower risk for Internet addiction," lead author Argyroula Kalaitzaki of the Technological Education Institute tells Reuters. "Whereas bad parenting, including parental control and intrusion, that is authoritarian and neglectful parents, has been associated with higher risk for addiction."

The study, published in Addictive Behaviors, looked at more than 700 young adults around age 20 attending technical schools. Researchers examined the self-reported questionnaires of the participants regarding their feelings of loneliness, sadness and anxiety. They also looked at the participants' Internet usage and the parenting style they were exposed to.

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The researchers found a link between a demanding parenting style devoid of affection and greater social isolation as a young adult.

Young adults who recalled their fathers as being controlling and their mothers as lacking affection reported higher degrees of sadness and challenges making friends -- personality traits that raise the risk of Internet addiction.

"Parents should be made aware of the harmful impact that a potential negative parental rearing style may have upon their children in later life," says Kalaitzaki.

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Some studies to date suggest that kids who have poor social skills might be at higher risk for Internet addiction because they find it easier to make friends online.

What are your thoughts on the idea that parenting style influences children's future Internet addiction? Sound off in the comments below.