"For an entire year I saw nothing but the back of my daughter's head," Melanie's dad explains. When she became inconsolable and accused us of ruining her social life--she couldn't update her Face book page--we knew there was a serious problem." Turned out, Melanie was down and out over a flirtation with a boy that had gone nowhere.
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The family worked it out and she stayed put--with the help of intensive outpatient therapy.
Was Melanie's a case of harmless teen tweeting and more, or a sign of a dangerous problem?
Take Melanie (not her real name), a sixteen-year-old Greenwich Village student, who spent up to seven hours a day updating her Face book page and instant messaging with friends.
Most stories about adolescents and the internet underscore the very real dangers of cyberbullies, sexual predators, and on-line scams that imperil unsuspecting, vulnerable teens. All of this access can be dangerous; those who abuse the internet can become trapped in a cyber riptide of sorts, pulled in further and further as their time on-line increases, their school performance declines, and their family and peer relationships begin to suffer.