Monday, December 20, 2010

New research on the effects of the internet on mental health

Did you know women are now online more than men?

Did you know 50% of the people online lie about their age, weight, job, marital status and gender?

Did you know at least 20% of the people online will experience clear negative effects on the quality of their life?

Did you know 11% of the people online are compulsive or addicted?

Nearly 20% of the people online will encounter one or more of the following problems:

Personal neglect

Compulsive checking or "clicking"

Isolation and avoidance from friends, family, and coworkers

Loss of productivity at work or at home


Marital problems

Sexual addiction

Gambling of savings

Internet abuse in the workplace

Academic failure

Using the internet is not a problem for users who are online less than two hours a week. Heavy users are at risk when they are plugged in more than 18 hours a week. Currently, there is no official diagnosis for an addiction to the internet. The proposed disorder is called Internet Addiction d\Disorder or AID. The compulsive and potentially addicted user is online as much as 10 hours a day in non-work-related activity.

Am I addicted?

Do you feel better, more alive, more stimulated and more connected when you are online, chatting, or exploring the internet?

Are you spending more and more time online?

Are you concealing the amount of time you are online or gaming from friends, family, or coworkers?

Are you online when you should be taking care of work-related tasks, home related chores, or health-related activities?

When you are off-line do you feel  depressed, exhausted, agitated, and hyper-focused on getting back online?

Have you tried to reduce your time on the internet and can't ?

Are you forgetting to eat?

Are you neglecting sleep?

Are you neglecting personal hygiene?

What is the first step in reducing dependence/addiction to the Internet?

1) For a period of 10 days keep a "time log" of every minute you spend on the internet or on other electronic forms of entertainment such as video games or smartphone games.

2) For a period of 10 days keep a journal in which you carefully log/describe the feelings you have that precede getting on the internet,  while you are on the internet, and  after you get off of the internet.

3) At the end of this ten-day period, carefully review your time log and feelings journal. Calculate the total amount of time you are spending on the internet, video gaming, or utilizing a smartphone. After you have calculated the exact time you are spending online/gaming/texting you will then summarize the findings of your feelings journal. Take a piece of paper and create three columns. In column one write a summary of the feelings you have preceding your time on line. In column two write the feelings you experience while you are online. In column 3 describe the  feelings you experience when you are off-line or after you have disengaged from being on the net.

4) If it is clear to you that you have a problem and you are motivated to make changes, contact and mental health professional who is qualified to provide counseling in addiction to the internet and video gaming. There are many different ways to approach a problem with internet abuse and addiction and so you will need to talk to a variety of mental health professionals to determine what method is best for you.

For further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me directly by posting comments to this blog or email me at or call 310287-1640.

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