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Interventions for Problematic Internet Use
Web Addicted Teens continuing education social worker CEUs

Section 10
Predicting Internet Addiction

CEU Question 10 | CEU Test | Table of Contents | Internet
 Social Worker CEUs, Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

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 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?

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.

Piddock, C. (2005). Tangled in the Web. Current Health. 31(5).

Lenhart, A., Lewis, O., & Rainie, L. (2020, May 30). Teenage life online. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech.

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.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Acuff, S. F., Pilatti, A., Collins, M., Hides, L., Thingujam, N. S., Chai, W. J., Yap, W. M., Shuai, R., Hogarth, L., Bravo, A. J., & Murphy, J. G. (2021). Reinforcer pathology of internet-related behaviors among college students: Data from six countries. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. Advance online publication.

Acuff, S. F., MacKillop, J., & Murphy, J. G. (2018). Applying behavioral economic theory to problematic Internet use: An initial investigation. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors32(7), 846–857.

Lachmann, B., Duke, É., Sariyska, R., & Montag, C. (2019). Who’s addicted to the smartphone and/or the Internet? Psychology of Popular Media Culture8(3), 182–189.

Lee, S. L., & Lim, S. X. (2021). Predicting internet addiction with the dark triad: Beyond the five-factor model. Psychology of Popular Media10(3), 362–371.

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 Test

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