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Teens and Internet Addiction

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teens and Internet addiction

Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is a theorized disorder originally made as a satirical hoax by Ivan Goldberg, M.D., in 1995. He took pathological gambling as diagnosed by the DSM-IV as his model for the spoofed description.

Although IAD was meant to be a hoax, it is promoted as a real condition by some supporters. Supporters often divide IAD into subtypes by activity, such as pornography, overwhelming and immoderate gaming, inappropriate involvement in online social networking sites or blogging, and Internet shopping addiction. Activities which, if done in person, would normally be considered troublesome, such as compulsive gambling or shopping, are sometimes called net compulsions.Others, such as reading or playing computer games, are troubling only to the extent that these activities interfere with normal life.

Internet Computer Addiction Among Teens

A growing trend is internet computer addiction among teens. It is not a positive trend, unfortunately, but negative. This kind of addiction among teens is very often destructive and one that could have a major impact on not only the computer addict, but on his or her family and friends also.

Teenagers of today find that the internet and computers are a necessity if they are going through high school. They need the internet and computers to do research for their assignments. If you don't have a computer you will get left behind in this information age. Internet addiction among teens is not specifically targetted towards the teens themselves, even children in lower grades will require a computer to research their assignments, but it all leads to one thing - computer dependency.

If a parent needs to combat internet computer addiction among teems, how are are they going to do it without confiscating the computer and depriving their children of it? It is not going to be possible to stop their teens from going anywhere near a computer. Computers are at schools, internet cafes and with friends. These are just some of the challenges faced by the parents of teens who are suffering from computer and internet addiction.

So, what sort of signs do parents of teens addicted to the computer have to look out for? Internet computer addiction among teens ranges from being addicted to games to spending hours and hours in chat rooms. Either way, the teenager is living out a fantasy life. The internet and computer is often an escape from reality for teenagers who feel they do not fit in with the real world. Either in chat rooms or with games, the teenager can be whomever they choose to be. All it takes is a click of the mouse and they are in their fantasy world living out their dream life, either in the form of a hero in a game to being somebody they are not in a chat room.

It is unfortunate that for a minority of teenagers, role playing of this kind turns into a full-on addiction. Internet computer addiction among teens is very often the cause of family arguments because the teen will forgo social and family events preferring to use their computer instead. Very often an internet addict will stay up all night playing games or using a chat room. In the worst cases, teens will quit school or college favoring their computer and internet addiction.

Internet computer addiction among teens is very similar to other teenage addictions, such as alcohol or tobacco. Symptoms can include mood changes, they can become withdrawn, bursts of anger and a huge impact on their social relationships.

To prevent, and end, internet computer addiction among teens is somewhat a challenge. A parent of a teenager suffering from internet and computer addiction should act upon it as soon as they see the symptoms by trying to limit the amount of hours the teenager spends on the computer. Encouraging the child to take up other pastimes or hobbies can in most cases turn their attention away from the computer.

An organization specifically set up to combat internet computer addiction among teens, and has helped many thousands of teens and indeed, people of all ages, with their computer and internet addiction. The organization is called The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery and can be found online at


Use of the Internet is legitimate in business and home practice such as in electronic correspondence to venders or electronic banking. Therefore, traditional abstinence models are not practical interventions when they prescribe banned Internet use. The focus of treatment should consist of moderation and controlled use. In this relatively new field, outcome studies are not yet available. However, based upon individual practitioners who have seen Internet addicted patients and prior research findings with other addictions, several techniques to treat Internet addiction are: (a) practice the opposite time in Internet use, (b) use external stoppers, (c) set goals, (d) abstain from a particular application, (e) use reminder cards, (f) develop a personal inventory, (g) enter a support group, and (h) family therapy.

Practice the Opposite

A reorganization of how one's time is managed is a major element in the treatment of the Internet addict. Therefore, the clinician should take a few minutes with the patient to consider current habits of using the Internet. The clinician should ask the patient, (a) What days of the week do you typically log on-line? (b) What time of day do you usually begin? (c) How long do you stay on during a typical session? and (d) Where do you usually use the computer? Once the clinician has evaluated the specific nature of the patient's Internet use, it is necessary to construct a new schedule with the client. I refer to this as practicing the opposite. The goal of this exercise is to have patients disrupt their normal routine and re-adapt new time patterns of use in an effort to break the on-line habit. For example, let's say the patient's Internet habit involves checking E-mail the first thing in the morning. Suggest that the patient take a shower or start breakfast first instead of logging on. Or, perhaps the patient only uses the Internet at night, and has an established pattern of coming home and sitting in front of the computer for the remainder of the evening. The clinician might suggest to the patient to wait until after dinner and the news before logging on. If he uses it every weeknight, have him wait until the weekend, or if she is an all-weekend user, have her shift to just weekdays. If the patient never takes breaks, tell him or her to take one each half hour. If the patient only uses the computer in the den, have him or her move it to the bedroom.

External Stoppers




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