Saturday, July 27, 2013
CHRISTOPHER MULLIGAN LCSW
The combination of a teen’s emerging curiosity about sex, their increasing sex drive, together with the accessibility and aggressive marketing of sex on the internet, has resulted in online sex or “cybersex” becoming a regular part of adolescent sexuality. Unfortunately, there are teens -- as many at 15 percent -- that cannot manage moderate behavior when they engage in sexual activity online and quickly develop compulsive behaviors that can result in addiction.
The term cybersex is a catchall phrase used to describe a wide variety of computer and cell phone based sex-related behaviors. These behaviors include accessing online pornography (audio, video, text), engaging in sexual chats, creating an avatar to engage in sexual acts or chats, using WebCams to engage in “live” interactive sexual behavior, using social media sites or email to arrange offline sexual encounters, using sex toys designed for the online world, or a combination of all of the above.
Research shows that the preferred form of cybersex for teens is “sexting.” The term “sexting” refers to sexual communication with content that includes sexually explicit pictures and/or text messages, sent using cell phones or other electronic devices.
Although sexting is the preferred form of cybersex, increasing numbers of teens are engaging in sexual interaction in chat rooms (with friends, acquaintances, and strangers), using WebCams to engage in interactive sexual behavior with a “live” partner (friends, acquaintances, and strangers), and using the Internet to locate and “hook up” with anonymous sexual partners .
Teens are also growing increasingly focused on online pornography and are developing significant problems controlling their behavior. Material with explicit sexual content abounds in cyberspace at a grand total of 400 million pages and counting! Some pornography is found on professional sites, but much of it is found on amateur sites. Parents are generally unaware chat rooms and popular websites that allow instant messaging can easily lead to images from WebCams that are sexual in nature.
Research has shown that when excitement occurs after viewing a sexual image, the neurotransmitter epinephrine is released. Epinephrine makes its way to the brain which serves to “lock” the image in to the brain’s capacity for recall. The teen can then recall the image at any time, triggering the same feelings of excitement and arousal. Other neurotransmitters are also released such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and adrenaline which create euphoric states, causing the teen to search for images that will create the same experience. For many teens, the accessibility and anonymity of cyberspace make it very difficult to resist pornographic sites, which can lead to addiction.
If you believe your teen has developed a compulsive or addictive relationship to cyber pornography or cybersex, it is crucial to confront this problem directly and provide appropriate intervention.
The focus of our treatment program is to assist the sexually compulsive teen in decreasing destructive online sexual behaviors while simultaneously increasing healthy offline sexual behaviors.
As would follow, our treatment program has two primary goals:
1) Reduce the teen's immediate short-term unhealthy behaviors. Achieving this goal begins with helping the teen understand his/her acting out cycle by identifying primary high risk situations, emotional triggers, and thinking errors. Through this process, the teen can reduce the total number of sexually compulsive behaviors they are engaging in on a daily basis.
2) Develop healthy sexual behaviors. Eliminating unhealthy behaviors creates a void. In order to maintain a long-term sexual health, the teen needs to fill this void by practicing healthy sexual behaviors. Our program helps teens understand the function of their sexually compulsive behavior while simultaneously providing extensive information that encourages healthy sexual choices. Additionally, our program helps the teen become familiar with barriers that get in the way of achieving long-term sexual health.
Our treatment program progresses through three stages:
1) Stage I: Problem identification (defining problematic sexual behavior, creating an immediate short-term harm reduction plan, taking an off-line and online sexual history, defining different types of online sexual behavior, tracking behavior through an Internet activity log, identifying emotional triggers, identifying high-risk situations, understanding how compulsive sexual behavior is maintained despite negative consequences, and defining the process of change).
2) Stage II: Primary treatment (defining sexual identity and sexual orientation, defining sexual functioning, defining health sexuality, defining barriers to sexual health, discussing the role of body image in sexual health, discussing the role of fantasy in healthy sexuality, defining intimacy in the context of sexual relationships, defining spirituality/values in the context of healthy sexuality).
3) Stage III: Continuing care plan (creating a sexual health plan, reviewing the role of healthy sexuality in psychosocial well-being, reviewing triggers, understanding the role of relapse, learning to ask for help, and creating an ongoing support system).
Our treatment program is tailored to the unique strengths and challenges of each teen and his/her family.
Warning Signs of Teen Cybersex Addiction
Bookmarks sexual sites online.
Spends more than 5 hours per week using the computer or cell phone for sexual purposes.
Searches for sexual material through an Internet search tool.
Internet sex has interfered with important parts of life (peer relationships, homework, etc).
Participates in sexually related chats.
Has a sexualized username or screen name.
Masturbates while on the Internet.
Accesses sexual sites from computers at school or friend’s house.
Conceals the sexual use of the computer from others.
Lies about the use of technology for cybersex when confronted by a parent or other adult.
Intentionally seeks out and views pornography on the Internet.
Stays up after midnight to access sexual material online.
Uses the Internet to experiment with different aspects of sexuality (e.g., bondage, fetishes, anal sex, etc.).
Promises to stop using the Internet for sexual purposes.
Uses cybersex as a reward for accomplishing a task (e.g., finishing a project, homework, stressful day, etc.).
Feels anxious, angry, or disappointed when unable to access sexual
Engages in increasingly risky behaviors when online (given out name and phone number, met people offline, views child pornography, etc.).
Meets face to face with strangers met online for romantic/sexual purposes.
Uses sexual humor and innuendo with others while online.
Has seen sexual pictures of other teens online.
Posts and views sexual photos or information on Facebook or other social media sites.
Stores sexualized photos online.
Posts and views sexualized videos online (YouTube, Google Video, etc.).
Treatment for cybersex addiction includes a combination of:
For more information contact Christopher Mulligan: 310-287-1640 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Address:11140 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Monday, July 8, 2013
FACTS ABOUT CYBER BULLYING
FROM THE PEW INTERNET AND AMERICAN LIFE PROJECT
A total of 7 focus groups were conducted with youth in June 2006. Three of the groups were conducted in an East Coast city and three were conducted in a Midwestern city. One focus group was conducted online, with high school students (and a mix of boys and girls). The other six groups were single gender, and interviewed 7th and 8th graders, 9th and 10th graders and 11th and 12th graders, one each of boys and girls for each grade group.
1/3 of teens who use the internet say they have received threatening messages, have had private emails or text messages forwarded without their consent, have had embarrassing pictures forwarded without their permission, and have been the subject of false rumors.
Of all online forms of bullying or harassment, the most common is having private messages forwarded without consent.
Girls are more likely to experience online bullying than boys (38% to 26%).
Older girls (41%) between 15 and 17 say they have been harassed and bullied online.
Older girls are more likely to receive online threats (13%).
Teens that use social networking sites are more likely to have experienced someone forwarding embarrassing pictures (9%) than teens that do not use social networking sites (2%).
Teens who are regular users of social networking sites are more likely to have experienced some form of cyber bullying than teens who do not engage in social networking (39% to 23%).
Teens who have created content for the internet (blogs, uploading photos, sharing artwork, etc.) are more likely to report cyber bullying and aggressive forms of harassment.
2/3 of teens (67%) reported that bullying and harassment happens more offline than online.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
A seminar for mental health professionals
“The good, the bad, and the ugly of cyber pornography”
The combination of a teen’s emerging curiosity about sex, their increasing sex drive, together with the accessibility and aggressive marketing of pornography on the internet, has allowed pornography to become a regular part of adolescent life. Unfortunately, there are teens -- with and without developmental challenges -- that cannot manage moderate use when exposed to sexual content on the internet and quickly develop compulsive behavior that can result in addiction.
Material with explicit sexual content abounds in cyberspace at a grand total of 400 million pages! Some pornography is found on professional sites, but much of it is found through file sharing sites and amateur sites. Parents are generally unaware chat rooms and popular websites that allow instant messaging can easily lead to images from WebCams (video cameras attached to home computers) that are sexual in content.
Research has shown that powerful neurotransmitters in the brain are released when cyber porn images are viewed by teens and serve to “lock” these images in to the brain’s capacity for recall. Neurotransmitters also create euphoric states, which motivates the teen to search for images that will create more intense and sustained sexual stimulation. For many teens, the accessibility and anonymity of cyberspace make it very difficult to resist pornographic sites, which can lead to compulsive and destructive behavior.
If you believe your teen may be developing a problematic relationship with cyber pornography or you want to learn how to prevent a problem from developing, this seminar will provide you with the most current research and on prevention and treatment.
This seminar will cover the following:
When: This parent seminar is 3.0 hours and can be scheduled evenings and weekends
Where: Cyber Addiction Recovery Center
11140 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232
Contact: Christopher Mulligan
About Christopher Mulligan
Christopher Mulligan LCSW is currently an adjunct lecturer at the University of Southern California in the Graduate School of Social Work. Christopher Mulligan is founder and clinical director of the Cyber Addiction Recovery Center in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Mulligan provides parent education, school consultation, and a full range of clinical services to address internet, videogame, and cyber pornography addiction. Mr. Mulligan is also the founder and clinical director of GroupWorks West, which serves the social and mental health needs of teens and young adults on the autism spectrum.