Hiding inside the computer: Warning signs

June 2, 2002 Posted: 10:35 AM EDT (1435 GMT)

(AP) -- Mental health experts suggest asking the following questions to determine if you're spending too much time on the computer -- playing games, surfing the Web or chatting online. If the answer to any or all is "yes," they say you may want to seek help.

* Is the amount of time you spend on the computer causing problems for your family? At school? At work?

* Do you repeatedly break family or work rules about when and how much computer time is allowed?

* Do you ever lie about the time you spend on the computer or how you're using it? Or do you find yourself sneaking around to do it?

* Do you forgo meals or bathing to spend time on the computer?

* Are you spending excessive time on the computer to avoid anything (boredom, loneliness, problems)?

* Do you have a preexisting condition, such as depression or an anxiety disorder, that may be contributing to how much time you spend on the computer?

* Do you throw temper tantrums when limits are imposed on your computer time?

* Do you withdraw from friends, family and activities to spend time on the computer?