The Toll of Internet Addiction on Families

Blogging, social media, gaming, shopping, TV, movies, virtual worlds. With so much to do and read on the Web, spending hours online isn’t difficult Because of this, internet addiction a real issue of modern life, and there are differences between being online a lot and having an internet usage problem.

Compulsive internet behavior can interfere with daily functioning. Excessive hours spent online lead to sleep loss and neglect of personal hygiene. People may also lie about their online behavior, think about being online during time when they aren’t online, have unsuccessfully tried to curb their internet habits, lose interest in other hobbies and activities he once enjoyed, and withdraw from family and friends.

Internet Addiction Affects the Whole Family

The internet provides endless entertainment, and some young adults and teenagers may see using the internet for social media or gaming as a way to connect with their friends and other people. But as these digital relationships and activities gain importance, they replace face-to-face interaction, and real-life relationships suffer.

Family members can see and feel this withdrawal when they notice a son or daughter neglecting to shower, ignoring homework, no longer caring to play sports, and failing to keep up with household responsibilities. Internet addiction research suggests this can create strain that affects relationships and overall household functioning. What is a parent to do?

Wilderness Therapy for Troubled Teens

Internet addiction can be difficult to deal with because the internet is easily accessible, and people have legitimate reasons to use it on a regular basis. Parents need to realize that internet addiction is not always resolved by controlling time spent online, etc. For troubled adolescents and young adults, the internet can be an escape or outlet, so it is important to discover, learn about, and deal with the underlying reasons as to why they turned to the internet in the first place. A variety of treatment options have been developed for dealing with internet addiction. Though no one option is better than another, parents should consider wilderness or outdoor therapy.

The Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy Program can help troubled teens dealing with a variety of issues. For those with an internet addiction, Pacific Quest’s home in Hawaii gets them away from the source of their addiction – computers, smartphones, gaming systems – and puts them in an environment that provides whole-person wellness. More than a place that focuses on outdoor activity, Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program that teaches young people life skills along with providing mental and emotional healing. Because there are often underlying issues that lead to internet addiction, individual and group therapy help students identify the sources of their problem and talk about their feelings. Making lifestyle changes is not easy, but students learn how nutrition, sleep, and exercise are all part of living a balanced life. And when internet addiction is an issue, it is important to keep active in non-internet activities.

How Families Can Heal and Help

As with substance addiction, families that have members dealing with behavior addiction need support in their own way. Parents and siblings need to be able to express their own feelings and frustrations, learn how to deal with the situation, and get advice for how to help their family member get better. Family therapists and addiction support groups can offer much needed support and guidance.

Pacific Quest offers some therapy service and support for families. Parents can discuss their personal concerns, learn and develop new parenting skills and strategies, and learn how set boundaries and expectations. Siblings also play an important role, so Pacific Quest doctors and therapists are committed to involving them when possible and helping them manage their own concerns and feelings. Pacific Quest strives to give students the tools for long-term wellness, and that kind of sustainable growth and change occurs when families are involved and are a part of the treatment process.

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