Internet addiction risk for children with ASD

Previous studies indicate that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) spend more time online than their normally developing peers.

While professionals believe children with ASD can find their online experiences as helpful because it takes away the anxiety and pressure of actual social interaction, it puts them at greater risk of addiction to this virtual world and possibly make them feel even more alienated in the real world.

Even though we do not suggest that parents of children with ASD should completely cut off online access for their kids, as online skills are an invaluable part of learning nowadays, we do suggest that they should restrict access so that the children do not come to rely entirely on online interaction as a replacement for real life interactions with people.

To help kids with ASD to better able to cope and adapt to such interactions, the language and behavioural problems that are limiting their ability to do so need to be treated. The most effective form of treatment is applied behaviour analysis (ABA) therapy.

We therefore advise that parents should look to treat the underlying causes of their children’s language and behavioural problems and seek to solve the problems, rather than trying to alleviate the symptoms by coming to rely on online virtual means.

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Autism Recovery Network Singapore (in Indonesia)