Do you spend more than a few hours a week online on a computer, smartphone, or tablet?
Do you ignore your homework? Chores?
Do you forego sleep to surf the net or play online games?
Have you stopped hanging out with friends?
Are family relationships suffering?
Do you still keep up with other hobbies or sports?
If these questions hit home, you may be dealing with internet addiction. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe not. Maybe you’ve joked about being addicted to the net or not living without your smartphone with its social media apps and Candy Crush.
Internet addiction is gaining a lot of attention. A Google search turns up basic information, internet addiction tests, self-help tips, plus ads for professional help. While it’s not yet classified as a true addiction, much research has been devoted to the effects of excessive internet usage. And yes, studies show that spending too much time online and plugged in to gadgets has many negative effects.
Maybe it all sounds like a crazy idea to you. Another teen thought so, too. Yes, internet time was eroding certain aspects of her life, and an online quiz told her she had a big problem. She wasn’t convinced she had an addiction. She was, though, motivated to take control and change her habits. She found a wealth of happiness … away from her computer.
That is great!
Self-discipline worked for her, but it may not work for everyone. That’s because internet addiction isn’t simply about excessive internet use. It’s also characterized by neglect of personal hygiene, responsibilities, and relationships with friends and family. Underlying insecurities, depression, etc., mean some people turn to the internet for comfort or distraction, and end up lost in all the internet seems to offer. When the problem seems more than just bad habits and you don’t know what to do, it’s time to get help.
It’s OK to Ask for Help for Internet Addiction
Everyone needs help from time to time, and it takes strength to say you can’t do it on your own. Let your parents know something seems wrong. If you need, seek out a therapist or mental health professional. Talking with a third party can help you discover and begin to understand why you’ve developed an internet dependency.
Wilderness Therapy Programs: Helping Teens Get a Handle on Their Troubles
Of course, it’s tough to change when the source of your problem is a fact of modern life. You need the computer to write school reports, the internet to research information, so it’s easy to tell yourself, “I’ll check Facebook for only a few minutes.”
Deciding to go to a therapy program away from home isn’t easy, but it could be the best decision you’ve ever made, and it gets you away from the temptations of computers and smartphones. If an in-patient program seems too intimidating, look into wilderness therapy, which is about getting outside and learning to be alive, about you, and how to be a better, happier person. Wilderness therapy programs for adolescents and young adults like you are usually thought of as a last resort, but they don’t have to be. If it seems right for you, check one out.
Wilderness programs aren’t all the same. Some are tough, adventure camps. Others take a less outdoor-survival-skill approach, like Pacific Quest in Hawaii, where you’ll work in organic gardens and gain life skills, increase self-confidence, and reduce stress. Pacific Quest also teaches how exercise and sleep, nutrition and diet all factor into being happier and healthier. You’ll also get the opportunity to test your physical strength as you explore, hike, and discover the beautiful surroundings.
Wilderness therapy will challenge you – mentally, physically, emotionally. The road to change isn’t always easy; it requires work. Individual and group therapy gives you time to talk to a therapist and other teens with the same struggles. Pacific Quest’s wilderness therapy program is here to give you the tools to create lasting change that will help you take back control of your life.