Monthly Archives: August 2014

Internet, Technology Creating Barriers between People

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

This quote is repeated for a reason. Words definitely have power, but a single image can succinctly capture a moment, situation, a scene – or even emotions.

Technology and the internet have made talking and writing each other so much easier when one considers every day typical communications as well as social media posts and comments, blogs, text messages, and emails. However, all this “talking” is somehow leading to a society in which people truly connect less than before technology took over.

It’s a situation that is difficult to explain with words. How can people be connected or interacting yet be — well, detached?

As a final project, student created a short animation called “Avoidance” in an attempt to illustrate this concept and tell the story of how technology can get in the way of truly being and interacting with another person – something that seems tough to do with words. She didn’t even include dialogue. Just images of people going throughout their day, interacting with their gadgets and essentially ignoring each other.

Avoidance from erica rot on Vimeo.

How do you feel about the animation? Have you experienced this detachment or avoidance in your own life? Would you say this aptly depicts aspects of society’s addiction to the internet, video games, smartphones, and technology in general?

Why is any of this important?

Whether people realize it or not technology is having an effect on them, so much so that some people may have an internet addiction. Research into this new and growing problem shows that internet addiction has physical, mental and emotional effects. These include “rewiring” brains, causing feelings of anxiety when not online, and ignoring responsibilities – and relationships. Internet addiction can cause someone to withdraw from friends and family.

Excessive internet and technology use does not necessarily equate to internet addiction. However, people need to recognize how their constant use changes the dynamics of relationships with others and has a variety of affects. People can end up feeling alone even when in the same room with another person.

Adolescents are possibly open to more harm because mental, emotional, and physical developments are at their height during the teen years and continue into their 20s. They should be learning healthy socialization skills, etc., but this, other life skills and learning processes are affected by constant connection to technology, the internet, smartphones, video games, etc.

When Help Is Needed: Wilderness Therapy

As said, internet and technology overuse is only one aspect of internet addiction, but should it happen, more than will power to overcome a bad habit might be called for. Internet addiction can be accompanied by other issues, such as depression or low self-esteem. It’s a complex situation that requires attention to each issue making finding a program that’s able to do so very important. Programs have been set up to address internet addiction specifically, but wilderness therapy has been helpful as well.

Pacific Quest, a holistic wilderness therapy program in Hawaii, has been able to help those adolescents and young adults feeling depressed, anxious, and trapped by their internet, video game, and tech addictions.

Pacific Quest is a well-rounded program that aims to empower students by teaching them life skills, healthy habits, and ways to cope with their issues and everyday pressures, such as the internet. It’s about learning to live a healthy, balanced life.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse

College Transition and Internet Addiction

The internet has overtaken college campuses as it has the workplace. College students use it for research, communication with classmates and professors, and other educational activities as well as being a means of entertainment. When considering the transition from home atmosphere to new independence along with several other factors, it’s possible for college to cultivate internet addiction in young adults.

The Freshman 10 and Other Worries

These days it’s not just putting on 10 pounds that has become a worry for college freshman. There’s a wide assortment of things that could cause concern as they transition to a new way of life.

When in college, young people’s time isn’t as structured. Classes account for twelve to sixteen hours per week, and the rest of that time is students’ own to read, study, hang out with friends, join clubs, or explore the new environment outside their campus walls. Another possibility is they forgo all of those other activities and concentrate on a means to escape any new pressures: the internet. Freedom from parental control is a teen’s dream, but subsequent transitional issues could lead to issues like internet addiction.

Escapism is part of the allure of internet, so it makes sense that college students would be susceptible to it. College is a major change, and some students may find themselves struggling and with a desire to escape college stressors. There are pressures for making top grades, fulfilling parental expectations, and facing fierce competition for good jobs upon graduation . Socially, they may find it difficult to find and make new friends, especially if they chose to go to a college far from home and thus won’t run into people they already know. They can turn to the internet to hide from difficulties and feelings of fear, anxiety, or depression falling into things like online gaming, which is a popular activity among young people. Video games are engaging virtual worlds that keep them both entertained and distracted but also offer a sense of belonging because online gaming can provide a sense of friendship with other gamers.

Internet over-use poses multiple problems. It’s well established that using the Internet too much can lead to a sedentary lifestyle and a decline in physical fitness that can result in additional weight gain, all of which have serious health implications. Many suffer with carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and headaches. Additionally, researchers have found that the light from computer screens may affect circadian rhythms, creating a risk factor for sleep deprivation and insomnia, which can lead to depression.

Signs of Possible Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is characterized by more than excessive internet use. There’s also lack of sleep or excessive fatigue, declining grades, not caring about relationships with friends or significant others, withdrawing from previously enjoyed campus social activities and events, general apathy, edginess, or irritability when NOT on the Internet, lying about how much time they spend online and their activities, and rationalizing that what they learn on the Internet is superior to their classes. Some students may try to quit on their own if threatened with possible expulsion because of poor grades, but as the internet is a necessary tool to complete homework, they can easy slip right back into the same addictive patterns. In the worst case scenario, students may not realize the problem until consequences worsen, such as being kicked out of college.

Tackling College Struggles & Internet Addiction

Tackling internet or tech overuse requires several changes and a lot of self-discipline. As the situation worsens and becomes more of an addiction, additional help and support may be required.

▪     Lifestyle changes. It is often difficult for people suffering from a psychological issue to make lifestyle changes on their own. However, a healthy diet, a good sleep schedule, and regular exercise can go a long way towards facilitating recovery. Staying active in non-Internet activities is also important.

▪     Individual therapy. There are several models of therapy, such as psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The best choice is usually up to a person’s preferences, but cognitive-behavioral therapy is a popular approach for Internet addiction.

▪     Group therapy. Group therapy provides a safe, supportive space for a group of people suffering from similar issues to share their struggles and journey with others who can empathize and offer insight from their own experiences.

▪     In-patient treatment. In-patient treatment provides a high level of support and treatment with access to on-site doctors and the support of other patients. It is often used when out-patient methods are not effective because it is an opportunity to work through issues in a place that separates people from the source of their struggles. For internet addiction, that can be incredibly helpful since computers and the internet are a regular aspect of modern life.

▪     Wilderness therapy. Similar to in-patient treatment in that these programs are Pacific Quest Group Therapytime spent away from trouble sources, wilderness therapy uses nature to spur change and can place a bigger focus on whole-body wellness and more tangible accomplishments. Many people turn to wilderness therapy for the enriching environment it provides.

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy for adolescents and young adult in Hawaii is one such program. “At Pacific Quest, we have seen great success treating internet addiction using our Sustainable Growth™ model, which focuses on the mind-body connection, the importance of nature, and the individual’s place within the community, as well as the essential aspects of clinical care.”

Pacific Quest incorporates healthy living, a high level of clinical care with both individual and group therapy time, horticulture therapy, and other aspects that create and reinforce well-being in order to help young people through their addictions and behavior issues. It’s a complete program that can address internet addiction as well as any underlying issues.

If you’d like to learn more about internet addiction and how Pacific Quest’s wilderness therapy program can help, please contact us at 808-937-5806.

MORE RESOURCES

We are frequently discussing the topic of Internet addiction on our Family Resource Blog.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse

The Latest Smartphone App Craze Causing Feelings of Addiction

Smartphones are as much a phone as they are mini computers and hand-held gaming devices. It’s likely most smartphones owners have downloaded and played at least one game – perhaps even getting sucked into one of the app crazes that’s happened in the last few years.

Words with Friends
Angry Birds
Draw Something
Candy Crush

Now add Kim Kardashian: Hollywood to the list.

Developed around her life, the game is about figuratively keeping up with the Kardashians by climbing the celeb social ladder. As described by Yahoo Tech, “… [to stay] within the Kardashians’ social circle requires constant attention to wardrobe, social standing, romantic life, media presence, and accumulation of wealth. The game is structured to keep [players] furiously tapping [their] screen (and into [their] bank account) in order to earn virtual cash, energy, and special Kardashian branded K stars that are used to “charm” people, to help [them] rise from E-lister to A-lister (just like Kim!).”

It sounds silly, but players of all ages are quickly getting sucked in leaving them feeling addicted. Released only last month, it has over 5 million downloads. While it’s free to get, in-app purchases are costing players a lot. Within 5 days of its release, the game’s developer earned over $1.6 million, which shows just how much people are spending – purposely, accidentally, and perhaps unknowingly – just to get ahead in the game. Parents are finding their children in distress, and adults are questioning themselves.

How Is This Rapid Game Addiction Possible?

Self-control is something more easily talked about than done, and clever design and interest can be enough for people to put self-control – and logic – aside. Without realizing it, a seemingly innocuous habit, like playing a simple game, can become more when the right conditions are in place.

A psychologist’s breakdown of the Hollywood app reveals that everything from the graphics, colors, activity type, and structure lures players in keeping them engaged. Levels are initially easy, so progress is quick. Players get instant gratification from it and from the virtual cash received by constantly tapping the screen. Brains are wired to like that which gives satisfaction. The game also makes players wait to continue for resources to replenish, which is where those in-app purchases factor in. People don’t want to wait for things, so they make a purchase or two. As people invest more time into a game, the more difficult it is to quit. The result? Possible internet and game addiction.

Addressing Internet and Smartphone Addiction

If adults are getting lost in smartphone games, then young people are just as susceptible – if not more so in part due to their still-developing minds. Also, today’s celebrity-obsessed culture leaves many wanting “to get rich and famous,” and reality TV makes it seem possible. Thus, much about Kim and her family appeals to a young audience, and those aspects appear in the game.

What happens when things go too far? Depending on the person, a weekend detox can be enough. However, others may need more. Games offer an escape, which is as aspect of any addiction. Some adolescents or young adults with a video game or internet addiction may need to address underlying issues that may be fueling it.

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy excursion

Wilderness therapy, like Pacific Quest, can be the solution for addressing the variousaspects of these addictions. Wilderness therapy offers young people an environment where they can break away from technology, be involved in different activities that don’t require a smartphone or computer – and learn to enjoy them, and also get the therapeutic help to get them back on track. They obtain understanding in individual and group therapy and learn life skills that enable them to better cope with the technological temptations back home. The holistic approach at Pacific Quest wilderness therapy tries to offer a more complete perspective on how negative habits have mental, emotional, and physical consequences. With time at Pacific Quest wilderness therapy, internet- or game-addicted teens can find hope of a more balanced life.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse

Do You Know the Symptoms of Teenage Internet Addiction?

The Internet is a vital part of many different industries, as well as to our everyday lives. However, the Internet can also be harmful. Internet addiction is a growing concern, and teenage Internet addiction has become more and more widespread.

Perhaps you have a teenage child, and you’ve been suspecting that he or she is showing signs of teenage Internet addiction. Here at Pacific Quest, we believe that Internet addictions are serious because of the potential consequences. It’s important to identify them as soon as possible so you can get your teen the help that he or she needs.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of symptoms of teenagers who are struggling with some sort of issue, like internet addiction, as well as some information on how wilderness therapy can provide your son or daughter with healing from these addictive behaviors.

Growing Tolerance or Obsession

Has your teen demonstrated a growing tolerance level or an obsession with the Internet? Just like any addiction, an Internet addiction is recognized by a need for the next “high.” It’s similar to the way that alcoholics continue to increase their alcohol intake, or the way that illegal drug users frequently move on to more dangerous drugs. When a half an hour spent online no longer produces the desired physical and mental effects, an addicted teen will continuously increase their Internet time.

Frustration or Anger

For someone who suffers from an Internet addiction, not being able to get your next “fix” often results in frustration. However, over time and depending on how intense the addiction is, this frustration can escalate to anger or even violence. Perhaps you have observed this behavior in your teen whenever you’ve planned a family activity that would pull him or her away from the Internet for a period of time.

Isolation

Addiction is often a lonely experience. The main reason for this is because the addiction – whether it’s alcohol, drugs or the Internet – becomes more important to the addict than anything. Have you noticed your child dropping out of activities at school, or spending more time away from friends and family in order to spend time online?

Dishonesty

It is impossible for an addict to balance his or her life for very long. Eventually, there will be negative repercussions for the addictive behavior. You might notice your teen’s grades slipping, or he or she might fall asleep in class. If you’ve tried grounding your child for these behaviors, it’s likely that your teen will go to great lengths to find some way to be online. When confronted, most teens deny that they’ve broken the rules, or they come up with a story to cover up their deception.

Wilderness Therapy – Helping Teens Find Balance

Pacific Quest wilderness group therapy

Pacific Quest’s wilderness therapy is unlike any other teenage therapeutic program. Your child will not only learn to break the chains of Internet addiction, but he or she will also re-learn how valuable honest, real-life relationships truly are. By being separated from the
addiction, your teen will learn to identify it for what it really is, while also cultivating an understanding for how harmful it was.

The wilderness therapy program at Pacific Quest is more than just another type of therapy. It is a life-changing journey of self-discovery that will produce amazing results in your teen. Not only will your child learn to embrace the necessary tools to make better decisions, but he or she will gain the understanding and knowledge that’s required to carry this new-found wisdom into adulthood as well.

If you would like more information about Pacific Quest, we would love to talk with you. Please contact us today.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse