A London based mental health facility has recently launched a new program for technology addiction, focusing on youth. Dr. Richard Graham, of Capio Nightingale Hospital, notes that,
Mental health services need to adapt quickly to the changing worlds that young people inhabit, and understand just how seriously their lives can be impaired by unregulated time online, on-screen or in-game.
More and more studies are being done to examine how video games and Internet use are effecting children, teens and adults, but the data is still lacking, while increasing Internet use is beginning to have a serious and detrimental effect on many aspects of life. One study found that nearly 10 percent of young people could be suffering from social, family, and psychological problems due to video game addiction. Well- duh!! If a kid plays computer war games 6 hours per day, do I need a study to tell me that’s just plain unhealthy behavior?
In another study at a Taiwan medical university, results showed that 25 percent of male students and 13 percent of females were Internet addicts. Some brain scientists talk about a fear that children brains are getting rewired from prolonged Internet use. And many agree that there are noticeable behavioral changes that can be attributed to certain kinds of problematic Internet use. The research is lacking and researchers are scrambling to catch up with the fast moving technology.
But you do not need the published research to tell you that over-exposure to certain content, like hardcore pornography, obsessive use of Facebook in place of real socializing, gambling online everyday, buying things over the Internet too often, etc. is not good. This kind of Internet use needs to be controlled and can be a problem that requires treatment.
There is a focus on the need to control children’s Internet usage because there is an assumption that adults usually act responsibly. But who taught your grandmother what responsible Internet use is? How many pensioners have already found themselves losing their savings to Internet bingo and online casinos? More than you can imagine! How many marriages have ended in divorce due to obsessive online porn addiction? Ask any divorce lawyer how often he hears that porn addiction is the cause of the breakup.
The key to preventing Internet addiction is to understand what the Internet has to offer – good and bad, know what dangers exist and set and enforce very clear rules for yourself and for your family about what they can do online, when and how much time they can spend on the computer. Even if you do not have children, even if you are single, you need to take responsible Internet use seriously.