106286192A new Greek study shows that kids with recollections of strict, unaffectionate parents are more likely to develop an Internet addiction. It makes sense. When we were sad as kids we used to just disappear into books or take walks. Now, there’s a whole world online to distract kids who may feel lonely or depressed.

The study focused on more than 700 young adults, all around age 20. The subjects responded to questions regarding loneliness, sadness, anxiety and Internet use. Those who recalled having strict, unaffectionate parents showed an unhealthy attachment to the Internet. These kids tend tend “to be sad or to have trouble making friends, and those personality traits raise their risk of Internet addiction,” the researchers say.

Well, this makes sense. I’m pretty sure I have an Internet addiction – as I work on it full-time and find myself drawn to it even when I’m not working. It takes a conscious effort for me to unplug. I seem to grab an electronic device and start surfing out of habit more than anything else. On the weekends, I have to leave my computer on a shelf and turn my ringer off so I’m not distracted by my devices.

I know this is a product of having made Internet use habitual. That’s why this study makes sense to me. If kids don’t have nurturing parents there to remind them there is a world outside of their Internet screens and also interact with them in a healthy way – I can understand why someone would develop the habit of turning to the Internet.

I’m so glad there was no Internet when I was younger and I’m already seeing how hard it is to set healthy boundaries for kids. My teenage stepdaughter loves Instagram and browsing around the iTunes store endlessly. When I was a teenager, you couldn’t get me to sit still in my house once my homework was done. I really hope I can pass that kind of lifestyle on to my kids. I don’t want them staring into screens. There will be enough of that when they get older, especially if they take a job that requires it.

“Parents should be made aware of the harmful impact that a potential negative parental rearing style may have upon their children in later life,” one of the researchers told Reuter’s Health. That’s true for a lot of things, but certainly something to think about in regards to how much our kids will turn to the Internet.

(photo: Getty Images)