video games

Importance of Stopping Video Game Addiction Early

Video game addiction is a unique phenomenon of the new millennium in part because of how new computer and internet technology still is. It’s changed how we work and even how we play – whether an adult or child.

Video games as we know them were introduced in the 1970s and ‘80s and were initially in arcades. They were relatively simple for a while, and any other players were sitting right next to you – even if you eventually got Pong at home. Obviously much has advanced. Game concepts are much more involved. With the aid of the internet, a person can be playing alone in his room yet be interacting with multiple other people across the world taking part in the same game with a common goal. Yes, children still play outside, but it’s important to be aware of the effects of too much time with technology.

The Draw of Video Games, the Drawback of Addiction

World of Warcraft (WoW) is one of the most enduring and involved video games. Players create online personas – or character – then join with others across the globe to accomplish various quests in WoW’s virtual world. The more they play the more they can develop their characters, gain skills, and are rewarded. Accomplishing quests with other players makes one feel connected and important. Thus, it’s easy to see how quickly one can become absorbed into these virtual worlds trading real-life relationships and experiences for online ones.

In a 2012 NBC news story, a 28-year-old man described the hold WoW had on his life. He first got involved at age 11 and began logging in 16 hours a day by the time he reached his twenties. “Whenever I was on the computer I would feel great,” he described. “I was in this whole other world. I was excited. I was happy for that brief moment, but whenever I’m lying in bed at night, I would always … just think about how that day I hadn’t accomplished anything, about how I wasn’t what I wanted to be in life and that I was really, you know, miserable.”

It’s that type of scenario that differentiates over-use or a casual interest from addiction-like behavior. Personal relationships suffer; other hobbies, responsibilities, and commitments are neglected; players experience emotional highs when they play and lows when logged off. Also studies are showing that technology does have biological effects on us –from changing the ways our brains work to basic health implications. Children caught in this cycle may have more difficulty quitting than adults who face similar issues because they are still in the midst of developing mentally, emotionally, and physically when they begin playing.

Providing Hope for Those with Video Game & Internet Addiction

Getting therapy for a personal struggle that has you feeling down doesn’t necessarily meanthumbs_Excursions - Vista boy you’re depressed, but you realize you need outside help to get you back on track. The same is true of those who overuse technology: getting back on track means learning to balance real life with time online as well as addressing the emotional aspects of their attachment, which could include depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem.

Of course, not every child will develop a video game or internet addiction. But should it be a problem, wilderness therapy like Pacific Quest can be a great resource for adolescents and young adults who need to learn to live without the game and their online friends and need to build new habits. Wilderness therapy gets them away from the source of their issue and in an environment that supports change and growth. They develop real connections with people directly in their lives and reconnect with family and friends back home. The virtual world should never replace the real because one shouldn’t wake up one day to realize life has passed by.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse

Isolation: Side of Effects of Technology & Internet Addiction

One positive aspects of modern technology is how easily it enables us to connect with other people – whether it’s texting or playing an Xbox game with someone in Tokyo. In some ways, we’ve never been more social.

However this incredible power does have a down side: isolation. It seems contradictory, but true socialization has taken a toll. Something about talking to another person face-to-face is less natural to us. We’d rather text something than talk, and it’s not uncommon to see a group of people together but hardly looking at each other because they’re each using their smartphones.

We think we’re socializing, but in many ways, it all may be separating us from the real interaction we crave leading to feelings of isolation. Video games illustrate this problem well.

Connected to the Computer, Disconnected from the Real World

Today’s video games, like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, and Call of Duty, testify to technology’s advancement. Many are incredibly vivid, complex virtual worlds that draw millions of people into playing. They’re highly interactive with vast environments populated by a variety of characters with specific backgrounds, abilities, and duties from which players choose. Players can interact with other players by teaming up their characters to go on quests or into battles together. They communicate via headsets, which is necessary in order to strategize and accomplish a common goal. There is much to explore and do in these games even if a player is on his own, and getting lost and caught up in all of it can be easy. However, hours or days are easily lost, too, especially as these games are designed for long-term play.Pacific Quest wilderness therapy

“Who cares?” you say. These gamers are still interacting. What’s really lost if they’re forming connection that happen to be through a game? The problem is that time online is time away from family and friends who aren’t a county, state, or continent away. It’s time not spent productively attending to professional and personal responsibilities. These things cannot be taken for granted and be expected to be there waiting when you’re ready to step away from the computer. But as the video game takes on importance, little else matters.

Real relationships are hard to come by (think about how many people you consider a confidant) because they take time to build, and virtual friendships can’t truly replace them. People can feel isolated when they’re not online because they may have let real relationships crumble or realize they’ve not accomplished all they’ve wanted due to their online activity.

Wilderness Therapy for Video Game & Internet Addiction

Excessive internet use or game play carries with it a variety of issues, and feeling isolated is only one of them. If someone has few friends and feels alone, online activities and “friends” can fill a void. In this case, he may be additionally dealing with depression, anxiety, or social issues. For others depression may settle in later when they’ve realized what gaming has cost them – relationships, money, a job.

It takes time to unravel the issues behind video game and internet addiction, but wilderness therapy has been an invaluable resource for adolescents and young adults struggling with them. Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program uses a holistic, clinical approach, which means that students get individual and group therapy to tackle their specific issues and also learn how to take care of themselves. Part of that includes learning to be part of their immediate community through activities like organic gardening without technology to distract them. They learn to cultivate deep, real connections unlike the superficial ones aided by technology.

Problems shouldn’t need to escalate to the point of addiction to make us realize that we’re missing out on the vivid world around us.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse

Video Game Addiction: View From A Gamer’s Perspective

Picture this: your teenager sitting on the couch, mindlessly devouring junk food and soda, eyes glazed from hours of playing video games, day after day for the summer months. Summer is the highlight of the year for adolescents – no responsibilities and the taste of independence. All of the structure and scheduling that occurs during the school year is gone. With less structure and adult supervision, the summer is ripe with opportunities for teens to fall into bad habits, which can become larger issues like video game addiction.

A Teenage Gamer’s Perspective on Video Game Addiction

For 16-year-old Eli, gaming addiction, though he’s not comfortable with that term, is very real. Becoming aware of increasingly obsessive thoughts and behavior, understanding their consequences, and accepting that something has to change isn’t easy – even for an adult. Eli was forced to become aware of his issue after spending 14 hours straight playing his game of choice League of Legends.

Eli has been playing for almost a year along with several friends who got him into it. The initial difficulty required a lot of effort to get into the game, but it’s admittedly a growing priority in his life. Eli said, “[I’ve] wanted to play rather than go out to dinner. When I was swimming [on a competitive swim team], I was thinking about playing the game when I got home.”  When asked if he’s ever thought, “Hmmm, I should be doing [blank], but I’d rather play the game,” he responded with an unequivocal, “Yes.”

“It’s probably a bad use of time… it’s difficult to slow down”, confessed Eli.

With over 108 characters – or champions – to choose from, League of Legends uses teamwork, coordination and a lot of planning. Eli says he chooses to play certain champions because they are more powerful than others – thus more fun to play – and, “because it’s satisfying to win!”

Needing at least an hour to play the game and dealing with potential “conflicts,” as Eli calls them – i.e. if you perform badly other players bully or get angry, this game potentially hits the triggers of many a human emotion and character flaw. For example, if you are “AFK” (away from keyboard) thus leaving the game, there are penalties, and you may not be allowed to play in the future. Possible exclusion and angering fellow players creates incentive to continue playing.

As a consequence of his excessive gaming, his dad finally took away Eli’s phone after several previous empty threats. Though Eli got it back shortly thereafter, the message was received. Without going cold turkey, his dad has now limited the amount of time Eli is alone with too much downtime to play video games. Now Eli goes with his twin brother to their dad’s house some nights to read until they fall asleep. Not only is Eli’s video game addiction being curbed, but they get more quality family time.

Eli said, “It’s up to the parents [to monitor video game use]. They think we don’t know any better.” There is truth in that young people may not know better; teens becoming hooked on video games may not recognize their growing compulsion to play because the addiction grows gradually.

Choosing Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy for Video Game Addiction

Each day is a chance to practice good parenting skills. Parents have the ability to pull their teens out of a toxic situation when they’re beginning to head down the wrong path. But should outside help be necessary, placing troubled adolescents or young adults with video game or internet addiction in an environment like Pacific Quest wilderness therapy can be incredibly beneficial. Students have a chance to think about their life’s direction while receiving therapeutic support as they learn and grow.

Because teenagers’ brains are still developing, adolescence is an ideal time for outdoor Wilderness therapy rewardstherapy. Destructive thought and behavior patterns can still be modified, mental health issues can be managed, and behavioral issues can be staved off by getting treatment as early as possible. When asked Eli what he thought about outdoor therapy programs like the one at Pacific Quest, he emphatically said, “It’s a good idea. It actually sounds much more fun than playing the game!” While wilderness therapy is about more than providing fun, Pacific Quest’s program is engaging in ways that video games can never be. With horticulture therapy, gardening activities require team work, planning, and responsibility in order to be successful. They also provide tangible rewards unlike the inconsequential points earned in video games. Instead of wasting away in front of the TV or computer, adolescents experience the outdoors and life, eat healthfully, and are active participants in life and the community.

Pacific Quest also helps families when necessary. For adolescents’ change to be sustainable, families also need an opportunity to express their feelings, ask questions, and receive help. Pacific Quest therapists can work with parents on how to develop parenting skills, communication skills, and ways to support their teen.

Technology is part of our daily lives, so it’s important to establish good tech habits early in order to live a balanced, healthy life.

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

Greater Awareness of Behavioral Addiction & Internet Addiction

internet addiction gamingThe Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is released by the American Psychiatric Association and contains information on all mental disorders recognized by the US healthcare system as well as their diagnostic criteria. The latest edition, released last year, includes two interesting changes. First, the section describing substance-related and addictive disorders now includes gambling disorder. Second and perhaps more interestingly, the DSM-5’s Section III now lists internet gaming disorder, which designates it as a condition that should be researched further.

Including internet gaming disorder is a result of evidence coming from research done in several Asian countries of young people’s internet habits and preoccupation with the internet and online gaming. Known as “gamers,” these young people – mainly young males – play online games compulsively and ignore other aspects of their lives to their detriment. That research plus others are suggesting that mental pathways are being rewired in those people who exhibit high levels of preoccupation with internet gaming, and they’re experiencing pleasure and reward in much the same way substance addicts do.

The DSM-5’s changes are important because, as a group, behavioral addictions aren’t recognized as mental disorders, but now the DSM-5 is beginning to acknowledge the negative compulsive behavior behind some actions and that it may have greater mental health implications than previously thought. These moves create awareness and hopefully lead young people to check their own habits – and seek help if the problem is bigger than they realized.

Wilderness Therapy Helping Teens Overcome an Unhealthy Relationship with the Internet

From digital detoxes – weekends away from all technology – to internet addiction treatment centers, people are offering help and people are seeking help for excessive internet use. Though the DSM-5 has limited internet gaming addiction criteria to online games, it doesn’t mean people (non-gamers) don’t struggle with internet addiction issues that could include general internet use, online gambling, and social media.

Teens and young adults may be more susceptible to internet addiction issues. They’ve never known a world without the internet. Also, internet addiction may likely stem from other troubles in their lives, such as identity issues, low self-esteem, depression, or even ADHD, because the internet offers an outlet or escape, and they have not yet developed healthy coping skills.

Internet usage issues can quickly become complex, so where one goes for help dealing with it is important.  Wilderness therapy has been able to help troubled adolescents and young adults struggling with a variety of issues. The wilderness therapy program at Pacific Quest integrates a highly clinical approach with the holistic, using traditional clinical therapy with experiential learning through horticulture therapy to achieve healing and change. Beyond giving troubled adolescents a chance to get away from the source of their troubles, Pacific Quest’s unique approach that includes individualized care plans means it is equipped to help those struggling with internet addiction and the additional issues that may have contributed to it.


Socialization in the Age of the Internet

Losing Our Chance to Learn to Be a Friend

One of the signs of internet addiction is withdrawal from friends and family and even from hobbies and activities that a person once enjoyed.

But why is this?

After all, social media and instant messaging, etc., seem to be the main ways teens and young adults stay in touch with friends…right?? Well, having hundreds of “friends” online does not equal hundreds of true friendships. The result: superficial relationships. When combined with the popularity of texting, it means children and adolescents are losing out on face-to-face interactions and its benefits.Outdoor therapy program_ Wilderness program for adolescents_Troubled teens_Outdoor therapy_Wilderness program for young adults

As kids grow and develop, they learn how to socialize – how to make friends, how to be a friend, how to interact with others of different ages, how to behave in social situations. This is truly a skill, which should not be taken for granted. Research has shown that adults are affected by the constant connectivity from computers and smartphones. The brain can literally be re-wired, which seems to be having a negative effect on people’s ability to make and maintain deep relationships. If adults are experiencing these kinds of issues, then the effect on adolescents and teens may be more pronounced.

In this landscape, an adolescent trying to make friends yet may not have true friendships and figure out who he is may turn to the internet to find “friends” and fill emotional voids.

Internet Addiction in Adolescents and Young Adults

Internet addiction is more than an issue of excessive internet use. Often times, underlying issues lead people to use the internet or video games as a source of comfort. For example, troubled teens struggling with relationships in real life may turn to the internet. Social media, video games, and virtual worlds give the illusion that they are truly interacting with others.

As online activities and “relationships” gain more importance, real relationships with family and friends fall by the way side. Internet-addicted teens may also suffer physical pains and eye strain, experience headaches, and have falling grades.

Outdoor Therapy for Troubled Teens

The internet, social media, video games, etc., are all still relatively new and are a unique part of modern life. Thus, the long-term effects of this growing lack of true socialization are not yet fully known.

For troubled teens struggling with internet addiction and its effects – like poor socialization skills, an outdoor therapy program may be a great source of help, especially if regular forms of therapy have not made significant improvement.

At the Pacific Quest wilderness program for adolescents and young adults, students are immersed in a community setting. Organic gardening and horticulture are at the center of the outdoor therapy program. While working in our gardens, students learn to work together and how to communicate with each other. But more importantly, the calming effects of and connection with nature help students understand the issues in their own lives and how to deal with their emotions. The whole-person wellness Pacific Quests aims to provide means troubled teens and young adults develop important life tools, such as good communication and socializing skills, while also becoming more balanced emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Friends are what help us get through each day. To help a troubled teen or young adult, learn about outdoor therapy programs and the possibility of help and health they can provide.

Video Games: Teen Health & Wellness

Ask teens and young adults what they like to do in their spare time, and one of the most popular answers is usually, “video games.” It can be frustrating for teachers, parents & youth counselors, who want to see teens out in the real world, interacting with real, positive peers and adults.

But what if we could use video games to actually help teens motivate and facilitate a multitude of necessary behavior changes using a wide range of digital platforms? Or  what if we could perhaps engage them in addiction awareness and treatment- through the use of video games?! That time may not be far off.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio was an early investor in the health games space in 2004 with its grant to the Health Games Research and has invested more than $9 million in recent years. Pioneer saw video games as a promising but unconventional area for exploration, with the potential to lower costs of patient care and drive significant improvements in people’s health and health care. Pioneer focused on two areas where it could make the most impact: providing the health care industry with research and evidence on gaming effectiveness and connecting the fields of video games and health care issues.

Grantees have discovered that well-designed and well-implemented games can motivate and support prevention, lifestyle behavior change, self-care, clinical care, adherence to treatment plans, and self-management of chronic conditions.

Health Games Research is now a national program that advances the research, design, and effectiveness of interactive games used to improve health, wellness and addiction issues. It has funded 21 research projects nationwide, with many findings released in 2012 that may contribute to the increasing perception of digital games as an evidence-based consideration in many areas of health care treatment. Researchers are evaluating questions of efficacy as well as principles of game design to determine not only if a game works, but also why it works- to inform effective innovation in the next generation of games to improve the health of our next generation of adults.

The Games for Health Project

The Games for Health project supports a range of convening and field-building efforts that help forge connections between the worlds of games and health/addiction issues. Regional conferences bring together game designers and developers, researchers, medical professionals, educators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and others to share information about games technology and its application to health.

More than $2 million in grants will enable research teams to help strengthen the evidence base that supports the development and use of digital interactive games to improve players’ health behaviors and outcomes. Funded studies explore topics ranging from the “Effectiveness of Social Mobile Networked Games in Promoting Active Lifestyles for Wellness”  to how people in substance abuse treatment can practice skills and behaviors in the virtual world of a game to prevent real-world relapses.

Previous studies and clinical trials have shown that well-designed interactive games can significantly improve the players’ health-related knowledge, skills, behaviors and outcomes and there is tremendous opportunity to advance in the growing field of games and health, and to maximize its potential to improve the health of teens and young adults.

Examples Of A Few Grant Recipients

1)Indiana University, School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (Bloomington, Ind.)—BloomingLife: The Skeleton Chase is an alternative reality game designed to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles among college freshmen. It involves an interactive fictional story—a mystery that takes eight weeks to solve—unfolding across a variety of media (e-mail, Web sites, phone calls from fictional characters, physiological monitoring) and real-world physical and mental challenges that players must surmount to gather clues. The study will compare the impacts of competitive versus collaborative game versions.”

2)University of Central Florida, College of Medicine (Orlando, Fla.)—Practicing Relapse Prevention in Artificial-Reality Environments [PREPARE]: A Game-Based Therapy Maintenance Tool will investigate role-playing games designed to enable people, 18 to 65 years old, that are diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence to practice skills that can help them prevent real-world relapses. The relapse prevention games are embedded as minigames within an extensive multiplayer online game. The study will compare behavioral and health impacts of treatment, plus access to the game versus treatment without access to the game.

3)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Public Health (Chapel Hill, N.C.)—Presence: Predicting Sensory and Control Effects of Console Video Games in Young Adults will investigate motivations to expend energy during video game play for 18- to 35-year-olds. The study will compare physiological measures of energy expenditure while people play traditional video games (those that involve pushing buttons on a standard game controller or on a Wii motion-sensing controller) versus active video games (those that require physical movement using inputs such as a dance pad, balance board or guitar). It also will explore players’ sense of being present in the game and their intrinsic motivation to play, two factors that are known to increase the amount of time people will spend playing a game. This is the first time that research will identify the impact of these factors on players’ energy expenditure; study results may lead to recommendations for making traditional games more active and active games more compelling.

4)University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts (Los Angeles, Calif.)—Effectiveness of Social Mobile Networked Games in Promoting Active Lifestyles for Wellness will use cell phones and the Web to deliver “Wellness Partners,” a character-driven social mobile networked game, to children and adults ages 12 to 44. The game is designed to motivate real-world wellness through a player support system that involves family members and friends, and by incorporating elements from virtual pets, role-playing games and online social networking. A single-player version provides a fictional game character that offers encouragement, reminders, progress checking and communication with others. The multiplayer version allows players to enlist members of their social network to be partners or helpers. The study will examine how various components of the game may motivate healthy behaviors.

It is extremely exciting that we live in a time when innovative projects like these may lead to breakthrough improvements in the future of our children’s health care. For more information about Pioneer’s Health Games Research national program and the research projects it supports you can visit:

Tips On Avoiding Video Game Addiction

Is that one more level or one more life getting in the way of living your own life? For many people, video games have started as a staple in personal entertainment and a habitual activity to pass the time, to a full-blown self-necessity they feel they need to fulfill. But where does one draw the line between play and problem?

Video games used to be reserved for playing in dungy basements, the backseat of a car on a family vacation, and bombastic arcades. Now, there is no escaping the grasps they can reach. A video game is on our computer, tablet, online and always in our hands. Smart video game addictionphones have made conveniences readily available to us in the palms of our hands, but they’ve also opened the floodgates to a treacherous realm where, literally, the good comes with the bad.

Children today prefer to a turn on a video game rather than go outside when they have a spare moment. This world we live in inundates the technologically advanced youth so much that it is no longer the adults that are the experts, it’s the children. Technology and the Internet have now become an extension of themselves they’ve become accustomed to since they could swipe with a finger. Our youth are immersed in media activity that assails their senses with excitement and causes addictive chemicals to release into their brains.

If you’re finding your teen or young adult continually playing video games rather than reading, doing their chores, or if the activity is impeding their schooling and daily life, then a video game addiction could be a sobering possibility. If you’re noticing this behavior pacing its way into your child’s daily life, the following tips can help in avoiding video game addiction:

  • Have your child acknowledge and say the activity they do when they come home from work or school. Saying this out loud will emphasize the repetition of their activity.
  • Encourage them to make a list of things to do. They should write down everything that has to be done during their day and list them in order of importance.
  • They should look and follow that list every day, and follow it. They can cross off each activity, duty, or task as they take care of it. This encourages children to be responsible for their actions. They will have no one to blame, but their own actions.
  • Set limits to the amount of time they are allowed to play their video games. If they are playing with other children, have them tell those children the amount of time they are allotted. Time can swiftly pass while playing video games, but others may help to remind them of their time limitations.
  • Try something new with them or something they like to do besides video games.

These tips are smaller alterations and alternatives to their usual routines. The changes shouldn’t be seen too distracting, allowing for a greater increase of success. Now, start utilizing these tips in an activity today. Go grab your teen or young adult and see what’s out there away from a screen.

The Disadvantages of Video Game Addiction

When it comes to video game addiction, what are the disadvantages? Obviously this sounds like a ridiculous question. If something is considered an addiction isn’t it often associated as a negative? Does this video game addiction : internet addiction & wilderness therapy programassociation itself make it a disadvantage? The disadvantages lie in the specific qualities a video game addiction can conjure or impede.

In recent years the interactive game has become an amazing development in the area of image quality, realism, interactivity, and the variety of games available to users. These advancements have led children and young adults to spend more of their time gaming and less time together sharing with one another.

The following are a few of the disadvantages that can come with a video game addiction:

  • Personal physical health can be seriously impacted from poor video gaming habits. Gamers become lazy and neglect necessary activities such as exercise, eating healthy and proper foods, damaged eyesight, headaches and the inability to sleep.
  • Video games can negatively affect the mental health of gamers. Focussing one’s attention on video games requires all their attention and leads to a reduced contact with the environment around. This can also lead to a lack of interest in daily activities and hobbies. Furthermore, gamers become isolated in their addiction and lack the necessary social interaction with families and friends.
  • Spending many hours in front of a screen and not enough social interaction can also cause social problems thus resulting in gamers becoming shy and introvert. Many of the games developed today are more violent, leading gamers with the tendency to lose control and become more aggressive.
  • A new research has proved that excessive playing of video games can actually stunt the growth of a human brain. While there are games that can stimulate brain activity in both the left and right hemispheres of the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe of the brain is associated with learning, memory and emotion and continues to develop till the age of 20. This raises a level of concern as brain development is imperative during those crucial years.

Parents should understand the severity of keeping track of the amount of time their child spends in front of the screen playing games and also what type of games they play. Every aspect of an activity has its advantages and disadvantages; so is the law of nature. What we can do is try to maintain a balance and get the best of what it has to offer, be it nature or technology. Sometimes the best and simplest remedy is to just unplug and take a walk.

Internet: The Problem and Addiction Is Everywhere

How do you escape a problem when the culprit is everywhere, literally everywhere? In our hands, our cars, pockets and backpacks, in our refrigerators, restaurants, there’s no turning the corner where its influence cannot and will not find you. The Internet has you.wilderness therapy program for internet addiction

It has only been a few years since the Internet was a luxury and option only enjoyed at a select few locations, often reserved for the comforts of one’s home or the occasional internet cafe. Now, we can quite literally walk, run or drive and it’s with us or, sometimes, follows us. An entire generation of teens are growing up and maturing with the routine and mentality that the Internet is, and has always been, at their beck and call. They’ve grown with it, and has been a staple they’ve come to know. So how does one go about breaking away from the grips of a distracting stimulus? You disconnect from it.

The Signs and Symptoms of Internet Addiction

Before any action can be taken for Internet addiction, the individual suffering must exhibit the signs of an addictive personality. Individuals suffering from Internet addiction tend to exhibit the following traits:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Less socialization
  • Using the Internet as an emotional outlet
  • Losing track of time
  • Being defensive about Internet use
  • Inability to stop
  • Eye strain, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, poor nutrition, or trouble sleeping
  • Using the Internet for inappropriate activities

Disconnect, now!

If your teen or young adult is found to be addicted to the Internet, one of the most positive solutions is a wilderness therapy program. Since the Internet is readily and, almost, always available to everyone, the most common solution of disconnecting can often be the most problematic. Where do you go where the Internet cannot reach or is carefully monitored?

At the Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program the means of fostering the addictive Internet behavior is removed and replaced with activities, experiences and organic gardening that offer teens a better and, sometimes, more honest view of life. Through individual or group therapy sessions,  teens or young adults work with our clinicians to discover why they allow themselves to focus on such addictive behavior. Without computers, televisions, video games, and other distractions they are left with an open environment for them to focus on their lives, mistakes, relationships at home and begin to foster new interests they may never have known of with a screen in front of them.

Without the technological distractions, the teens and young adults attending may finally have a one-on-one experience with nature. Something they never would have known or had available to them being locked in their bedrooms staring at a screen of some kind.

With such a back to basics approach as a wilderness therapy program can offer, teens are released from their destructive constraints and realize that there is more to life than a posted tweet or a high score on a video game.