In 2004, the first reliable measure for Internet Addiction assessment was developed and is being widely used today. Subjects are asked a series of 20 questions. The answers they provide are on a scale of 0-5. Once all of the questions are answered, the total score is compiled. The higher the score, the more severe the addiction is. The test defines 4 levels of severity ranging from Normal to Severe. In addition to providing a score, the test helps point to the particular problem areas that the subject is struggling with, for example, it may point to a tendency to use online relationships as a replacement for fact to face relationships.
One of the major reasons that the Internet is so addicting is the lack of limits and the absence of accountability. When you are online, you often feel anonymous and alone. We act differently when we are alone. That’s a fact. Within a social setting, there is a natural accountability that we feel towards those around us. We use manners, act politely, don’t do things that we would be embarrassed about.
It was not long ago that parents beamed with pride when their children showed enthusiasm and interest in using the computer. There was a sense that it meant that they were bright and advanced. But all that has come full circle and parents are more and more frustrated and concerned about the increasing amount of time that their children are spending at the computer. In fact, Internet overuse among adults has become no less of a problem than it is among children with, in some cases, the repercussions being very serious.
From physical conditions that can be tied to computer overuse to concerns of social isolation and neglect of school and job responsibilities, the Internet has become a problematic influence in the lives of many children and adults alike.
The Internet is the fastest growing electronic technology in world history. In the United
States, it took 46 years before 30 percent of American homes were wired; 38 years passed before 30% of US homes had telephones, and 17 years for TV. The Internet took only seven years to reach 30 percent of American houses.
Internet Addiction is a real and growing problem. I define the various kinds of Internet addictions, explain how to identify problems in Internet use and provide solutions for how you can prevent, cope with and treat Internet Addiction.
As a society, we are still not completely aware of just how the Internet revolution is effecting us. But one thing we can all agree on is that it certainly is having a powerful effect, touching just about every part of our lives today – from how we learn, to how we interact and socialize, to shopping, to entertainment, to health care and much, much more.
The internet is highly dynamic and evolving at a rapid pace. It is a part of all of our lives. It has the potential to enhance how we live, to save us time, to empower us and to make us smarter. It also has the potential to corrupt and harm. And it is here that we will focus – on helping you to make sure that the Internet plays a healthy role in your life and that of your children, friends and family.
For most of us, the Internet will remain a convenient tool, like any other new technology we integrate into our lives. But for a growing population, men, women and children of ALL ages, it is becoming an unhealthy obsession.
Consider this — in 2004, the U.S. Senate held hearings on the Internet pornography problem. A long list of respected experts, from various disciplines and backgrounds, testified to the growing threat that online porn poses to our society. Dr. Mary Anne Layden, the co-director of the University of Pennsylvania’s sexual trauma program called porn, “the most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today.” She went on to describe it as equivalent to a drug pumped into your home 24/7 for free. Porn addicts face more difficulties than drug addicts to recover – because while drugs leave your system after some amount of time – pornographic images remain in your brain forever!
I go beyond providing information, warnings and tips. I know how overwhelming the Internet revolution has been for the current generation of parents and for adults faced with a preponderance of new temptations in the convenience of their own homes. And I am concerned about the ramifications – because they are significant, dangerous and destructive.
On a purely anecdotal level, I see more sexual violence among children, more relationship problems blamed on porn, more deviant behavior among populations that had been living within the norm (increase in married women with gambling problems, for example).
I have no intention of waiting for the research results in years to come which will report the disastrous effects of online porn addiction, compulsive gambling online and Internet Addiction. I want to start preventing addiction where we can and provide accessible, scalable, discreet treatment solutions for those already addicted.