Symptom Tests for Children

[Self-Test] Could My Child Be Addicted to the Internet?

Social media addiction and Internet addiction are not official diagnoses, but this self-test is designed to flag problematic and risky Internet use among adolescents.

Nearly half of teens today say they use the Internet “almost constantly” and visit popular social media platforms several times a day.1 While most teens say the time they spend on social media is “about right,” 36% say they spend “too much” time on TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and the like.1

At the same time, there is growing concern over the negative effects of social media and excessive Internet use on teen mental health, including its links to anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other conditions. (To be clear, research has found both positive and negative associations between social media, Internet use, and wellbeing.3)

Social media addiction and Internet addiction are not official diagnoses, but researchers are learning more about the intersection of media use and wellbeing, including what may constitute problematic use and behaviors.

If you are concerned about your child or teen’s Internet use, answer the questions below and share the results with a licensed mental health professional.

This self-test was adapted from The Problematic and Risky Internet Use Scale (PRIUSS). It is designed to screen for the possibility of problematic internet use, and it is intended for personal use only. This test is not intended as a diagnostic tool.

My child skips out on social events in favor of spending more time online.

My child’s family and peer relationships suffer because of their Internet use.

My child feels vulnerable when online access isn’t available.

My child avoids other activities – even important ones, like homework – to stay online.

My child struggles with in-person communication due to their Internet use.

My child misses opportunities to create real-life friendships because of the Internet.

My child says they’re online too much.

My child experiences increased social anxiety because of their Internet use.

My child prefers to socialize online instead of in-person.

My child puts Internet use first over most things.

My child loses sleep at night due to Internet use.

My child’s online use negatively affects their grades in school.

My child feels anxious when they’re away from the Internet.

My child becomes irritable and angry if they are unable to go online.


(Optional) Would you like to receive your ADD symptom test results — plus more helpful resources — via email from ADDitude?

Can’t see the self-test questions above? Click here to open this test in a new window.


Social Media Addiction and Problematic Internet Use: Next Steps

View Article Sources

1 Pew Research Center (2022). Teens, social media and technology 2022. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2022/08/10/teens-social-media-and-technology-2022/

2 Riehm, K. E., Feder, K. A., Tormohlen, K. N., Crum, R. M., Young, A. S., Green, K. M., Pacek, L. R., La Flair, L. N., & Mojtabai, R. (2019). Associations Between Time Spent Using Social Media and Internalizing and Externalizing Problems Among US Youth. JAMA Psychiatry, 76(12), 1266–1273. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2325

3 James, C., Davis, K., Charmaraman, L., Konrath, S., Slovak, P., Weinstein, E., & Yarosh, L. (2017). Digital life and youth well-being, social connectedness, empathy, and narcissism. Pediatrics, 140(Suppl 2), S71–S75. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-1758F

Leave a Reply