Internet Addiction Disorder: The Dangers Every Parent Should Know
Written by Elaine Wilson, in Section Parent Resources
Teen addiction is not an isolated problem—it is worldwide.
However, the standard assumption that it’s always drugs or alcohol in which teens are most likely to become addicted to is no longer the case: Internet addiction is a powerful problem. Whether it’s social media or taking advantage of the many other technological resources the internet houses, it’s easy for the time spent to get out of hand. This is, in part, because teen identity now includes some form of Internet interaction, and more and more teenagers are requiring therapy to help break themselves of dangerous habit.
Just How Dangerous is Internet Addiction?
When it comes to addictions, internet addiction is kind of a “process” addiction, which focuses more on a behavior or activity, and not necessarily a substance (like tobacco, alcohol, and drugs). It is often a progressive disorder which starts slowly and builds over time, ultimately consuming the individual and affecting work, school, social relationships, and family responsibilities. Teens often get caught up in social media or other chat-type platforms, but they also may become easy targets for predators and pornography, as well as overstimulation through gaming. In fact, its innocent appeal is very deceiving.
On its face, the internet appears harmless. Some psychologists still view it more of a compulsive disorder than an addiction, but the result is the same. It can cause a great deal of stress and psychological damage—damage which can sometimes escalate into physical form. For example, many of us have heard of teen suicide as a result of cyber-bullying, or teens using the internet as a tool to feed their depressive states, but,nothing in recent news has been more eye-opening toward the internet’s addictive potential than the story of a young 19-year-old man in China. It an attempt to finally kick his internet addiction on his own, “Little Wang” became so distraught and frustrated that he cut off his own hand—and that’s just a story we’ve heard about.
How Can You Help Your Teen with an Internet Addiction?
If your teenager is suffering from an internet addiction, the extreme stories like that of China’s “Little Wang” might prompt you into finding an appropriate therapy program—one that forces teens to unplug. Removing teens from their social media platforms and electronic communication can provide them with a whole new concept of what teen identity really is, and it can help them look deeper into themselves and find balance.
As one of the leading providers of “unplugged” treatment and healing, Wingate Wilderness Therapy, can help troubled teens to find lasting solutions. After all, Internet addiction can often be just one of several co-occurring problems (motivation, defiant disorders, eating disorders, trauma, substance abuse, etc.), all of which can be treated effectively with Wingate’s program. The American Psychological Association has already recognized Internet addiction as a real disorder, and teens who are suffering need real, immediate therapy and professional help.
Wingate Wilderness Therapy is a highly successful and sought-after program that helps teens face their issues and take their own accountability in things. We firmly believe that the teens and young adults who come to us are capable of making better choices and recognizing their own potential. To find out more, call us at (800) 685-3059.