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Addictions Interventions for Teens with a Web/Technological Addiction
Web Addicted Teens continuing education social worker CEUs

Section 10
Tangled in the Web

CEU Question 10 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Internet
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10 Signs You’re Spending Too Much Time Online
You probably spend a lot of free time on the Internet. After all, you're part of the computer-savvy generation spending time on the internet Addictions psychology continuing ed that people keep talking about. But have you ever wondered whether you might be spending too much time online?

Take this quiz to find out. You might need to step away from the keyboard if you answer yes to the following questions:

  1. When you write your name, do you have a strange desire to put www in front of it?
  2. Do you have a crowd of friends you've never actually met outside a chat room?
  3. Have your grades taken a serious tumble?
  4. Exercise--what's that?
  5. If your family has one computer and someone else is using it, do you get seriously ticked off?
  6. Do you have a hard time waking up in the morning because you were up online until the wee hours of the morning?
  7. Do your online friends believe that you are a supermodel or a 6-foot 3-inch linebacker--and have you sort of begun to believe that yourself?
  8. Do you avoid the old gang you used to hang around with because they interfere with your time online?
  9. When confronted by a real-life person or situation that you can't stand, do you search frantically for a delete button?
  10. When your computer is on the blink, do you become irritable, anxious, or depressed?

Hooked
Although it may sound funny, a preoccupation with the Internet can be a sign of trouble. If you can relate to the situations described above, you might be at risk for what psychologists call Internet addiction disorder (IAD). Simply put, IAD occurs when Internet use has a destructive effect on a person's well-being and life. In extreme cases, kids with IAD can have trouble telling the cyber world from the real one.

Arlette Lefebvre, a Canadian psychiatrist, says she recently treated 20 kids for IAD. Most of her patients were boys who played online games nonstop; two were girls who were hooked on chat rooms. One patient spent 12 hours a day on the Web. Another girl routinely chatted until 3 or 4 a.m. All of Lefebvre's patients suffered from lack of sleep, poor grades, and depression.

Experts report that IAD is treatable, although methods of treatment can vary. Some psychiatrists work with afflicted teens to identify the factors that make the Internet irresistible to them. Some prescribe talk therapy or medication to address the compulsive behavior at the root of Internet abuse. Because the Internet is such an important part of student life, few experts recommend that teens stop using it altogether. Instead, they suggest that teens set reasonable limits on their online time.

Life Off-line
Don't get us wrong. We're not opposed to the Internet. The technology has been a boost to most people's lives. It has opened up new worlds, sparked new interests, and increased knowledge.
But know that there is a dark side to the Internet and that teens can easily slip into overuse. There's a great big world out there--one you could be missing out on if you're trapped in the Net.

Did you know that…?

  • 84% of teens say they pass time online for fun.
  • 62% of teens think the Internet keeps young people from doing more important things.
  • 61% of teens think the time kids spend online takes away from time spent with friends.
  • 37% of teens say they have used IM to write something that they would not have said in person.
  • 26% of teens who use IM have pretended to be someone else while using it.

Source: "Teenage Life Online? Pew Internet & American Life Project (2001)
- Piddock, Charles; Tangled in the Web; Current Health; Jan 2005; Vol. 31; Issue 5.
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.

Personal Reflection Exercise #3
The preceding section contained information about being tangled in the web.  Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your practice.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 10
In extreme cases, with what do children/adolescents with IAD have trouble? Record the letter of the correct answer the CEU Answer Booklet

 
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The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.
Internet withdrawal causes physiological changes in digitally-dependent people - May 31, 2017
Scientists and clinicians from Swansea and Milan have found that some people who use the internet a lot experience significant physiological changes such as increased heart rate and blood pressure when they finish using the internet.
Study explores prevalence of Internet addiction and its effect on quality of life - December 22, 2014
Internet addiction is an impulse-control problem marked by an inability to inhibit Internet use, which can adversely affect a person's life, including their health and interpersonal relationships.
Teenage victims of cyberbullying at higher risk for psychological, behavior health problems - June 13, 2013
Teenage victims of cyberbullying, defined as the use of the internet or cell phones to send hurtful and harassing messages, are more likely to develop symptoms of depression, substance abuse and internet addiction, reports a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Biological Psychiatry special issue tackles the question on food addiction - April 23, 2013
Biological Psychiatry is proud to announce this week's publication of a special issue focusing on the question of food as an addiction.
TAU researcher connects computer communications and psychosis - November 21, 2012
As Internet access becomes increasingly widespread, so do related psychopathologies such as Internet addiction and delusions related to the technology and to virtual relationships. Computer communications such as Facebook and chat groups are an important part of this story, says Dr. Uri Nitzan of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Shalvata Mental Health Care Center in a new paper published in the Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences.

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