Connecting with one’s peers on social media and other media platforms has become a critical component in the establishment of teen identity.
However, just as teen addiction problems happen with other “feel good,” reward-based activities or actions (substance abuse, for instance), it’s just as easy for Internet addiction to occur. Almost like drug or alcohol addiction, teens get a kind of high from using the internet—and if it begins to get out of hand, it’s time to get your teen involved in therapy before their new-found “innocent” habit turns destructive.
Is Internet Addiction Really That Bad?
Many teen addiction therapy programs that take an “unplugged” approach to various kinds of treatment will tell you that Internet addiction is a real threat to teens in this new century. In fact, wilderness treatment programs like those at Wingate Wilderness Therapy believe that the dangers of the Internet are very real, and internet addiction and can become a serious problem—mostly because of the nature of the addiction itself.
Considered a compulsive disorder, Internet addiction can wreak havoc on teens in a number of ways. They may become depressed, suffer extreme anxiety, or begin to disengage from those around them. Additionally, Internet addiction has been linked to ADHD, increased risk of suicide, behavioral problems, and it can feed destructive behaviors like eating disorders and self-harm (like cutting).
According to psychiatrist Dr. Pinhas Dannon of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, it is just as extreme a problem as more serious addictions, and should be “grouped with extreme addictive disorders such as gambling, sex addiction and kleptomania.”
How Can I Get My Teen Off The Internet?
Getting your teen off the Internet may require some professional help. Since it is a compulsive disorder, setting boundaries once your teen has already passed a certain threshold may only make their condition worse. They may begin to lie and act out in ways they hadn’t before, just to be able to connect back online, and it may even make any depression they are experiencing that much worse. With the right kind of therapy, however, there is hope.
Wingate Wilderness Therapy offers the kind of treatment program that provides teens a way out of addiction through re-connecting with nature. As a therapeutic transitional living program, they teach teens to lead their lives more independently, and help them form a new perspective regarding their identity—one that doesn’t include social media or the Internet. Internet addiction is something that isn’t going away.
Wingate Wilderness Therapy is designed to help teens and young adults rediscover themselves and the world around them. Our highly-sought after program reconnects your son or daughter back to nature and the love and commitment of their family. To find out more, call us today at (800) 560-1599.