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Escapist Behavior Internet & Video Game Addiction

In recent decades video games have become a fixation with young people, especially as the video game industry expands into the mobile internet space, creating video game addiction. One of the issues of this is it can be very anti-social. It can also cause people to invest a lot of time into something that could be interfering with other goals in life or regular work. In some ways, video game addiction resembles drug addiction in how it consumes a person’s life and time plus how it affects human relationships.

Video Game Lifestyle & Addiction

Playing video games incessantly instead of working or doing something constructive can become a depressing narrative. Video games are not necessarily bad for people, but they can use up a lot of time and begin to take over a person’s life interrupting work, healthy eating, and sleeping. The rewards for investing so much time playing video games are improved scores and competitiveness; the costs are lost valuable time and real connections. Like a drug, at first it takes little to be entertained. It’s a recreation that evolves into an escape from the responsibilities of the real world.

Video games have shortened attention span similarly to television: Both are hypnotizing and an escape. However, video games offer an extra dimension that television doesn’t: participation. Since you become much more involved with a video game than a television show, it’s easy for your eyes to remain glued to the screen for hours. This activity creates physical as well as psychological issues. Its sedentary nature has many effects on our body – from blood circulation to weight gain and body aches, and excessive screen time strains eyes and can cause headaches.

Like Gambling

Though money isn’t necessarily involved, gaming mirrors aspects of gambling as both can potentially engross someone for hours, time that could’ve been used doing something productive or proactive – volunteering, learning something new, working, studying. Even though playing video games requires decision-making, those decisions have no application or effect in the real world. Much effort is wasted to be champion of a game that means nothing to others outside the gaming world, like employers or family. Like gambling, video game or internet addiction can affect personal and professional relationships and also mental and physical health as strain increases. The end result of both can be a very empty feeling.

A Fresh Perspective through Wilderness Therapy

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy health wellness

If you find that you’ve escaped too far into the video game world to the point that it is affecting relationships, school or career, an outdoor wilderness therapy program may help. Pacific Quest in Hawaii uses a holistic approach to point struggling adolescents and young adults toward healthier lifestyle choices and a new life. They learn the principles of Whole Person Wellness: improving nutrition, sleep, movement, and the connection between body and mind – ideas lost in the midst of video game or any addiction.

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy offers individualized clinical care and also incorporates horticultural therapy in its therapeutic model. Gardening places students in caregiver roles. They learn responsibility and goal-setting that produce tangible rewards for their time and efforts – fruits and vegetables that help feed themselves and others, which is unlike the inconsequential rewards of video games. Pacific Quest is guided by principles of healthy community living, which involves collaborating with others to reach personal and public goals. It’s all about learning to fit into a larger group and having access to mentoring, support and feedback. A real community is better than a virtual one. The Pacific Quest experience is considered a rite of passage in which clients leave their old identities behind, and they can replace feelings of emptiness with those of self-worth based on real accomplishment. Escaping in video games is no longer necessary.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse

Did You Know June Was Internet Safety Month?

Having an internet safety month seems silly because the internet is now an everyday tool with which most of us are comfortable using. We don’t think twice about logging on or the information we may come across. However, it’s important to remember that the internet is powerful in what it enables us and others to do.

To help remind us to be mindful of our internet habits, the National Cyber Security Alliance, a non-profit public-private group focused on cybersecurity awareness and education, uses this time to encourage all internet users to, “Stop. Think. Connect,” each time they log on.

Children, Adolescents & the Internet

Internet safety month is as much about what adults should to protect themselves, their information, and their computers as it is about teaching children about it – from security to the stuff they may find while surfing the net. Understanding better online safety is begins with good judgment and behavior that is exercised daily, all year long.

Now that school is out with several months of summer freedom ahead, children and adolescents will likely be spending much more time online or playing video games. It’s such an easy way to be entertained with all the content, games, and social interaction the Web has to offer. Even if it’s “just Facebook,” it is important for kids of all ages to be aware of their actions. For example, cyberbullying has become an all too common occurrence. Children are verbally abusing each other whether they’re instigating it themselves, succumbing to peer pressure to send hurtful messages, or perpetuating the cycle by sharing the information instead of trying to stop it.

Another reason to teach internet safety is because research, by the Pew Institute or other sources, shows that the vast majority of children have access to the internet in their own homes. Also increasing numbers of adolescents have their own computers and even their own smartphones. Unless parents are vigilant, put safeguards in place, and spend time educating their kids about internet safety, these children have easy access to every corner of the Web.

Internet Addiction and Troubled Adolescents

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy adolescent internet addiction

If your adolescent is spending extra time online this summer, it may be fine. It’s when online activities interfere with emotional, intellectual, and social development that help should be sought. Even if it’s just reading, the endless supply of links can occupy a person for hours, along with social media and online games. Get teens involved in other activities to avoid excessive time online.

Internet addiction is characterized by a dependence on the internet and computers. Internet-addicted adolescents exhibit signs of preoccupation or anxiety when away from their computers and irritation when online activities are interrupted. They forego other hobbies in favor of being online, withdraw from family and friends, and experience physical side effects from hours spent sitting in front of a computer.

Several solutions exist for treating internet addiction – from a self-imposed digital detox to programs designed to help you deal with addictive behaviors. The trouble with most cases of internet addiction is their root in other issues, such as anxiety and depression or low self-esteem. These must be treated along with the dependence on technology in order to see long-term success. Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program has been able to help troubled adolescents and young adults in the journey to understanding and recovery. An individualized clinical care program is key to helping each student whether it’s for internet addiction or adoption issues, etc. A wilderness therapy program gets young people away from the temptation of technology, so they learn to function without it.

Prevention is the best medicine. This summer prepare your kids by teaching them internet safety as well as other activities to stimulate them until next school year rolls around.

Smartphones: Sources of Stress & Internet Addiction

SmartphoneHow do you feel when you get a text message or a new Facebook notification? If you’d say “anxious” or “stressed,” then you’re not alone: Preliminary research indicates that some smartphone users are feeling higher levels of stress due to smartphone activity. Why is this?

Smartphone Ownership

Approximately 91% of American adults own some type of cell phone, and as of 2013, new data (Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project) reveals that the majority of American adults now own a smartphone. As ubiquitous as smartphones have become, it’s possible to see how a trend in reports of related stress and anxiety could develop.

How does this apply to teens and young adults? The average age for getting a first cell phone is now 13. Cell phone technology keeps progressing towards smartphones, and as older generations become incredibly affordable as soon as the latest model is available, it’s easier for parents to get their kids smartphones. Also, teen’s today are tech savvy and to have anything less than a smartphone isn’t “cool.” So if adults are feeling the smartphone strain, then it’s likely adolescents are, too.

The Smartphone-Stress Findings

Though a small sample, one British study included college students, retail industry employees, and government workers. Findings showed that using smartphones for work purposes didn’t cause as much strain as the social obligations that smartphones presented, such as constantly managing social networks. Higher usage for social purposes correlated with increased smartphone user stress. Considering all the social apps, games, and instant access, it’s no wonder that smartphones are increasing stress levels – and self-described internet addiction by nearly two-thirds of teens and over a third of adults.

Wilderness Therapy: Helping Troubled Adolescents and Young Adults Overcome Internet Addiction, Stress

Research about internet addiction, smartphones, and the resulting issues brings up a lot of information and articles. Pathological internet use is beyond spending too much time online. Research relates increased levels of anxiety, withdrawal from friends and family, and a drop in grades or work performance as some of the signs of internet addiction.

More studies are required to find out the true connection between smartphones, internet technology, and stress and anxiety. It may be that people who are already experiencing a form of anxiety or depression turn to the internet for an outlet rather than the internet being the main cause of their issue with depression, anxiety, or stress. Still, it is important to realize these issues are real and definitely play into each other.

Through programs like Pacific Quest wilderness therapy, students are offered a chance to get to the root causes of their issues – from internet addiction to substance abuse, mood regulation issues, and family conflicts – and then begin to understand them. Pacific Quest wilderness program incorporates horticulture therapy, which has been shown to help calm participants, increase self-confidence, and overall life satisfaction. Anxiety and stress are decreased through time spent in and interacting with nature. Another great feature is that troubled adolescents or young adults dealing with internet addiction can have time to get away from the source of their stress. Wilderness therapy is a time for students to put down the technology and smartphones and to get back to themselves.

A New Definition of Self through Social Media

“I share, therefore I am.”
–Sherry Turkle

Social media is still a very new technology, but it has quickly changed a lot about our social lives and even how we think about ourselves. Before social media, people paid attention a bit more to the moment – to the activity and people in front of them. Maybe it was because cell phones weren’t constantly ringing or alerting us of new texts and posts. Cameras were a separate device, and no one took pictures of her lunch – then dinner, coffee, and new shoes – and shared it with the world. Even with the advent of digital cameras, people weren’t compelled to constantly carry one around to capture any random moment.

Now the moment is often about social media activity. How often have we heard, “If it’s not on Facebook, then it didn’t happen”? (Admit it: perhaps even you’ve said it.) Let’s not get it all wrong. Social media isn’t all bad. It is its own industry; people are creating jobs out of blogging or developing social apps. (Snapchat, anyone?)  However, social media sharing shouldn’t be a measure of our activity and involvement in life, nor should the number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers.

Posting, sharing, and tweeting have gained a bit more importance than sharing an experience in the non-virtual world. (How many of us now say, “Stop! I want to take a picture for Instagram!”) It’s all about balance. What happens when we can’t figure out that balance?

Losing Ourselves in Internet Addiction, Finding Life through Wilderness Therapy

New research about the consequences of excessive computer and internet use continually
emerges, along with questions about internet addiction. It all has a basis in reality. People are experiencing higher levels of anxiety and depression among other side effects, and studies show they are related to excessive use of technology – from computers, video games, smartphones, and social media. Also as we – especially adolescents and young adults – define ourselves through social media, depression sets in due to cyberbullying, etc. All in all, Facebook friends and social media “likes,” are not living up to face-to-face connections and the benefits those give us.

Many people know where to draw the line, and they know when they need to take a step back. Unfortunately, some people can get lost in the technology and what it seems to offer. Because of that, internet addiction seems to be the result of people using the internet as a comfort or escape. It comes to define part of who they are since the internet is filling some void in their own lives.

Wilderness therapy can help those who can’t seem to break the internet addiction cycle and who are dealing with deep issues related to their internet over-use. Wilderness therapy is different than other forms of therapy because of its use of nature as a therapeutic source. When incorporated properly, nature and nature-based therapy has calming and curative effects.

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy excursion

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy is one such program. Horticulture provides one means students interact with nature. By working in organic gardens, students learn to create true connections as they work together to build and tend to the gardens. These connections are further deepened in group therapy sessions, where they learn to share, listen, and contribute to face-to-face conversations about mutual struggles and experiences.

Before social media, we talked to others about our day. Now that’s truly sharing. Pacific Quest can help troubled adolescents and young adults redefine themselves in a healthy way.

Constantly Connected: Effects of Internet and Smartphones on College Students

Spurred by the observation that college students are seemingly glued to their smartphones, Kent State University researchers conducted a study of 500 university undergraduate students to determine what effect, if any, smartphone use may have.

The study equally represented freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and the group reported a wide variety of majors. For the survey, researchers recorded students’ daily cell phone use as well as clinical measurements of their anxiety and life satisfaction (the technical term for happiness). Lastly, researchers also looked at students’ school records for their cumulative grade point average (GPA). The results?

Cell phone use showed statistically significant relationships to GPA, anxiety, and happiness. Cell phone use had a negative correlation to GPA but was positively related to anxiety. Findings also showed a positive relationship between happiness and GPA and – understandably – a negative relationship between happiness and anxiety. In layman’s terms, those of the 500 students who reported higher smartphone use had a lower GPA, tended to be more anxious, and have lower life satisfaction when compared to the students who used their cell phone less frequently. (It would make sense that bad grades would make someone feel anxious and unhappy.)

Why did the researchers choose to look at GPA, anxiety, and happiness? Well, they’re all necessary for student success. So, if a student is spending too much time fiddling with her smartphone, then she may be more likely to have lower grades and suffer from anxiety.

The Age of Smartphones and Internet Addiction

Smartphone use is essentially internet use because the internet and the technology used to access it are what give smartphones their computer-like abilities. An important note is that internet addiction is different than excessive internet use. While excessive use can have negative consequences, as shown by the Kent State study and other research, internet addiction presents other unique issues:

  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Neglect of personal hygiene &/or personal responsibilities, such as work, school, or household chores
  • Loss of interest in other hobbies, etc.
  • Anxiety when away from computers/internet
  • Anger and irritation when internet activities are interrupted

What Can Help – Digital Detoxing, Wilderness Therapy

Some people are able to overcome their technology and internet addiction themselves. This may be especially true when there is mainly a matter of over-use. However, some research is showing that internet addiction is rooted in other issues, such as depression. This means that people, such as troubled adolescents and young adults, are turning to the internet to escape issues that are bothering them. In this case, a simple digital detox, the setting aside of computer and internet technology completely for several days, may not work.

Wilderness therapy may be able to help the young people who have developed an internet or video game addiction because they’re not sure how to properly deal with other issues in their lives. Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program incorporates traditional individual and group therapy into its therapeutic model as well as horticulture therapy. This unique blend of intervention in a safe community setting enables troubled young adults to open up about their struggles.

A wilderness program like Pacific Quest offers young people, like college students, an opportunity to get away from the source of their troubles (smartphones and internet) plus the resources to get help, understand underlying issues, learn how to cope in a healthy way, and develop life skills. The internet – and smartphones – is a fact of modern life. If we know more about ourselves, we can learn to balance technology and be happier and healthier.

Wilderness Therapy: Walk in Harmony with the World

When it comes to internet addiction in teens, an inner transformation must happen first in order for an outer change to occur. Nature supplies the classroom with the greatest impact for engaging and changing teens in the deepest way. At Pacific Quest we provide opportunities for teens to take their lives into their own hands and out of the grip of internet addiction.

How Wilderness Therapy Can Help Teens Struggling with Internet Addiction

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy for adolescents

The therapeutic benefits of wilderness therapy for teens struggling with internet addictions include nurturing the ability to trust one’s community through the experience of teamwork, developing a healthier relationship with the issues of control, taking responsibility for one’s actions and how those actions impact others, increasing feelings of self-esteem, joy and pleasure, and establishing a deeper connection with the natural world. One of the significant goals of our wilderness therapy program is to provide teens with the opportunities and skills to deal with difficult situations, so they can draw upon these experiences in the recovery process and long after program completion.

The addiction treatment aspect for internet addiction, video game addiction, or computer addiction lays in the obvious removal of the technological dependence and replacing it with healthier habits. In addition, those teens addicted to games, Internet, or computers often forget to take even the most basic level of care for themselves. That’s why our philosophy of health and wellness is routed in the principles of naturopathic medicine. An understanding and routine of basic physical health are the foundation of Pacific Quest. Proper nutrition and diet, plenty of exercise and adequate sleep are emphasized and supported. Adolescents also explore the body-mind connection as an integral part of this foundation.

For decades wilderness therapists and outdoor educators have been incorporating the healing and restorative powers of nature into programs designed to help troubled teens overcome addictions and personal challenges, to learn how to regain control over their lives, and to put themselves back on the path to health and happiness.

Wilderness therapy is a unique alternative to long-term residential schools and treatment programs. It has proven to be highly effective in dealing with many teen related issues, behavioral struggles and abuse problems.

For more information, please call us: 808.937.5806, or visit http://www.pacificquest.org.

Internet Use: Weighing the Pros & Cons

Computers and the internet are an integral part of daily modern life. People use them for work; kids for their homework. Along with tablets and smartphones, they help us keep in touch with friends and family, provide entertainment with games and videos, and keep us informed instantly with online news sources.

young woman with laptopPeople are now used to sitting at a computer for hours on end. Taking time to steal a glance at Facebook, a gossip site, or look up a song doesn’t seem to be a big deal – until two minutes turns into twenty. So, when does productivity and a bit of fun turn into an internet usage problem or addiction?

Pathological internet usage in children and teens is characterized by excessive time spent online accompanied by changes in mood –irritability when they’re not online, preoccupation with thoughts of being online, anger and agitation when online activities are interrupted. Also, other aspects of their lives suffer – from friendships to personal responsibilities, such as household chores and academics.

Research also shows that internet use, especially excessive internet use, can rewire the brain’s pathways. As a type of behavioral addiction, it also shows signs of having similar effects as substance abuse.

The pros and cons of using the internet and technology like computers, video games, and smartphones should be considered. They can also be used as a guide for understanding if your internet use is causing more trouble rather than productivity. While it may not be possible to fully get the internet out of daily life, it is possible to monitor our habits, so that we can better enjoy the people and non-digital world around us.

Getting Away & Breaking the Addiction: Wilderness Therapy

Internet addiction can at times be the result of other issues, such as depression. In searching for comfort or an outlet, someone suffering may turn to the internet. Ultimately, technology is definitely impacting our lives, relationships, and habits – for better or worse. And when it’s for worse, we should do something to change it.

For young adults or adolescents who are struggling with internet or gaming issues along with the possibility of depression and anxiety, getting away from the source of their trouble is a great start. Wilderness therapy can be a great opportunity for a digital detox and a time to discover what is at the root of internet addiction. Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program is a unique mix of outdoor therapy, standard therapy, healthy living, and a wellness program. The Pacific Quest’s holistic approach gives young adults and adolescents an opportunity to learn life and healthy coping skills, apply those skills and ideas, and then understand how those help learn to lead balanced lives – lives in which they know how to better balance internet and technology use.

Getting the Right Diagnosis: Internet Addiction

Today more and more people are being diagnosed with some type of issue – from exhaustion and depression to ADHD. These are real problems that have a variety of health implications, especially for adolescents and young adults because they are still developing mentally and physically.

Unfortunately, people today expect a quick fix, so doctors, clinicians, and parents may be too readily accepting of giving teens medications in an effort to make them feel better rather than taking time to teach coping skills or to understand the issue. This may also lead to overmedicating teens and young adults for another reason: improper diagnosis. Many issues have similar symptoms. For example, internet addiction, ADHD, and sleep deprivation.

What’s Troubling Teens: Internet Addiction, ADHD, or Depression?

When adolescent’s grades slip and inattentiveness becomes an issue, sometimes ADHD is quickly called to blame since it has such a high profile. There are also the issues of depression, which can accompany ADHD, and anxiety; those with depression often exhibit signs of anxiety disorder. The problem in diagnosing these issues can be that they present some of the same symptoms, such as irritability, mood changes, boredom, and poor sleep, as well as causing difficulty concentrating or initiating projects.

Without probing the issues and perhaps wanting a quick solution, medications could be prescribed for one or several issues. The effect could be to not help at all or even worsen an adolescent’s condition if ADHD or depression/anxiety is not his true struggle.

Failing grades, withdrawal from friends and family, and irritability or anxiety can also be attributed to internet addiction. Some research has shown a link between internet addiction and depression in teens as someone with depression may turn to the internet for an escape or source of comfort. If the internet is a true problem rather than ADHD, medication will not help, and simply reviewing qualifying criteria may not lead to a proper diagnosis or treatment.

Tackling the Troubles: Wilderness Therapy for Teens

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy individual therapyTherapy seeks to get to the root causes of issues. A good, comprehensive wilderness therapy program is capable of helping adolescents and young adults dealing with a variety of issues, such as internet addiction, depression/anxiety, ADHD, substance abuse, and adoption issues, among others.

The comprehensive Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program takes a holistic and experiential approach to healing. Naturopathic medicine and principles guide the wellness program, which combines standard medical practices with more traditional, natural healing methods. Pacific Quest’s program is well-suited for families wanting to avoid or reduce the number of prescription medications.

Its innovative therapeutic model includes individualized care plans with a combination of

The medical and clinical staffs take time to evaluate and talk to each student to learn about their struggles, issues, and motivations. Therapy sessions are tailored to their needs and individual progress in the program. Group sessions can focus on shared experiences and struggles, such as divorce, substance issues, or internet addiction. When several issues exist, such as internet addiction and depression, therapy can tackle each one individually and also reveal how one issue can feed another. Wilderness therapy also offers a chance for adolescents or young adults with internet addiction to get away from the source of the problem: computers and technology, and they can learn how to live without them. Pacific Quest understands there is no quick fix, so it takes time to help students then give them long-lasting skills and tools for them to be able to maintain change into the future.

Turn off the Computer, Turn on Your Mind through Wilderness Therapy Programs

From Instagram to Xboxes, at home or in the classroom, we live in an age when our external environment mixes compelling but competing demands for our attention. Rarely are people given the time to reflect, imagine, or daydream. Teens, adolescents, and young adults are forever in the situation of deciding how much attention to give to self-generated thought or to information from the external social or physical environment.  By changing the balance of attention to accommodate more self-generated thought through outdoor therapy programs, like the one at Pacific Quest, students may actually get far closer to realizing the dreams they most want for themselves.

Daydreaming

Did you know that the content of daydreams plays a big but hidden role in emotional well-being? People who report the most positive daydreams experience the lowest levels of negative emotions and depression.  Positive constructive daydreaming is when teens and adolescents enjoy vivid imagery and fantasy and use daydreaming for plotting out their future.  Daydreaming helps consolidate memories and synthesize disparate ideas and plans yielding a greater sense of identity and personal meaning. Because of this, healthy social Pacific Quest wilderness therapy A Day in Lifeand emotional functioning and the ability to make meaning of life experiences rely on constructive internal reflection and daydreaming. What’s more, studies show that daydreaming can enhance self-control and creativity.

Get Smart

Social media, computer, and mindless entertainment – even rote classroom demands – have the potential to rob children of opportunities to reflect and build personal meaning. Such activities focus mental resources on the concrete, physical, and immediate social world, fostering a more superficial self. Internet addiction or overuse can hinder creative or deep thought and encourage people to not deal with any personal issues because they have little time to think constructively.

By turning off the computers and rethinking the way they interact with technology and other people, teens and adolescents can make the most of their mental hardware and become smarter in other areas. Turning attention away from the external world can also help young adults to tap into their wellspring of creativity.

Expert recommendations on how to get young people thinking and daydreaming in a healthy manner include:

  • Nonverbal activities: playing guitar, cooking, running, playing team sports
  • Writing: journaling or creative writing offer a chance to reflect and increase self-awareness.
  • Group work: an opportunity to hear and debate other points of view expands our thinking and intelligence

Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy

The entire Pacific Quest wilderness therapy process is one of mindful interaction with the world around us.  Mindful processing is enhanced through activities that awaken awareness, intentional silent times such as journaling, development of observation skills, and attention to detail and focus during all activities from exercise to daily chores and therapeutic groups. Here, students get away from sources of internet addiction and get involved in mindful activities.

To recognize what a person is capable of achieving intellectually and creatively requires engaging that person in meaningful activity and allowing time for deep reflection and cultivation of expertise in the value domain. Pacific Quest incorporates horticulture therapy into its wellness program. The garden work allows ample opportunity for daydreaming even though students are also working.

The gardens at Pacific Quest offer a living example of what growth looks like, creating a culture where words match with action and empowers students with life skills that can be practiced beyond gardening and Pacific Quest. Gardening at Pacific Quest is a group activity, which supports critical thinking. Students provide feedback on each other’s work and hear information about themselves from their peers. Outside perspectives give insight, especially when we get a chance to think about that information.

Horticultural therapy utilizes gardening activities in conjunction with traditional counseling techniques to meet specific therapeutic treatment goals, placing the client in a caregiving role, and creating an experiential environment that is growth focused and life-affirming. Horticultural therapy is a client-centered treatment model that seeks to enhance social, cognitive, and physiological functioning with the primary goal of improving health and inspiring motivation for change.

Whole-person wellness addresses all aspects of the body, mind, and emotions. Students are better able to feel the results of positive change and therefore create an internal desire to carry new found wellness techniques beyond Pacific Quest. The process of change and growth that they witness with the wilderness therapy program provides Pacific Quest adolescents and young adults at Pacific Quest an opportunity to look more closely at the change and growth taking root within themselves.

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy can be great opportunity to help troubled adolescents and young adults by getting them away from sources of their media and internet addiction and giving them constructive activities and plenty of time to daydream or think about their lives.

Internet Addiction: Trading Real Relationships for the Virtual Community

“I share, therefore I am.” –Sherry Turkle

The world as it is today is more connected than ever. Yet, people are somehow missing on the real life connections around them – family, friends, coworkers.

Before the constant digital connectivity, people gave their attention to the moment: to the activity and people in front of them. Cameras were a separate device; no one regularly took pictures of lunch – then dinner, coffee, nails, and new shoes – and shared it with the world. Now we have constant distraction that we think keeps us in touch.

Of course, people can argue that nothing has really changed and that we still connect with those around us. But is it really connecting when you text, comment, or tweet while a friend is talking, and you realize you haven’t heard half of what he said? It calls into question our ability to be good listeners and friends.

The irony is that we are probably more disconnected than ever – from life, family, friends, and in some ways even reality. Social media sharing shouldn’t be a measure of activity and involvement in life, nor should the number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Unfortunately, many people seem to care more about these fleeting moments of “sharing,” especially today’s adolescents and young adults who have always had the internet, rather than true relationships and connections. As a result, young people don’t fully understand how to be a real friend or develop a real relationship through direct communication.

Wilderness Therapy for Adolescents: Learning to Reconnect

Withdrawal from family, friends, and hobbies is a sign of both internet addiction and depression. Internet addiction or overuse should be taken seriously as it can often be an extension of other issues, such as depression. As real relationships crumble, internet activity, social media, or virtual gaming can continue to take on more importance.

Pacific Quest relationships

It is a complicated situation, and therapy is one way to be able to understand how the internet became to be so important. Why did someone trade real connection for a virtual community? At Pacific Quest wilderness therapy, young adults and adolescents get an opportunity to get away from technology, learn to live without it, and learn what it means to be part of a real community. By working together in Pacific Quest’s organic gardens, they cultivate life skills as well as connections and relationships with others.

Pacific Quest offers students a chance to learn to reconnect because knowing how to properly communicate and listen are important for future success in both personal and professional relationships. Real sharing takes place. No amount of social media sharing or virtual world activity will ever be able to teach that.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction and Overuse