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Internet Addiction & Internet Safety:

Internet Addiction & Internet Safety A World Obsessed Rene Atkinson, M.Ed., L.P.C.

Problem Identification:

Problem Identification 1. Virtual Addiction 2. Compulsive Internet Use 3. Internet Addiction 4. Online Solicitation 5. Online Relationships

Phases of Addiction:

Phases of Addiction Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 A progression from use to overuse. Using work time and resources. Staying up past normal bedtime. Minimizing Rationalizing Hiding Use. Visiting inappropriate sites & creating fake profiles Using the internet for sexual gratification, becoming emotionally invested, escaping reality

Downward Spiral:

Downward Spiral Academic Problems Familial Problems Dysphoria Financial Problems Legal Problems Work Problems

Results = Physiological & Psychological Stress:

Results = Physiological & Psychological Stress

Familial Problems:

Familial Problems Lack of Communication Children Disconnect Children Are Unsupervised More Interest is Focused on Virtual Reality Mood Swings & Stress Inappropriate Relationships Opposition and Defiance Children May Become Victims of Online Predators

Inappropriate Relationships:

Inappropriate Relationships Chatting with Strangers. Becoming Emotionally Invested Long Distance Relationships Solicitation by Strangers. Posting Private Personal Information. Posting Pictures 32% of Teens Have Been Approached Online by an Unknown Person

Academic Problems:

Academic Problems More time is spent “researching” than actually completing assignments. Incomplete or Missing Assignments Inability to concentrate on real life instruction Grades begin to decline Skipping classes to stay in chat room Absenteeism

Problems At School:

Problems At School Lack of concentration Fatigue Skipping School Violating Internet/Private Use Policy Referrals Laptop Confiscation Suspension Termination/Removal From the Program

Legal Problems:

Legal Problems Inappropriate Photos Inappropriate Dialog Cyber Stalking Hacking Harassment Online Solicitation Internet Bullying Threats and Insults


Pathology Who is most susceptible? Mostly young people between the ages of 12 and 24. Those most susceptible are known as MUDers – Multiple Use Dungeons (Domains). Those who become severely entrenched in virtual identities and lives.


Identification School Counselors and parents need to seek out the source of student’s sadness or unrest. Some students are doing research every night on topics that include: self-mutilation, suicide, choking, bulimia, anorexia, bomb making, exotic drugs, hallucinogens, terrorism, torture, pornography, etc. The research becomes an obsession which often leads to trial attempts.


Survey Do you find yourself preoccupied with thinking about your next internet use? Do you try to limit your use without success? Do you cancel family and personal outings to be on-line? Have you stayed up late hours? Have you missed work, gone in late, been fatigued due to late night internet use? Have you lied about or minimized your description of online time?

Systemic Intervention:

Systemic Intervention Get everyone involved Family Extended Family School Church Work Friends Individual and Group Counseling

Internet Safety:

Internet Safety Set Ground Rules for Internet Use Monitor and Enforce Ground Rules Set Parental Controls Contact the ISP Communicate Non-judgmentally w/children. Learn how to use the internet Visit My Space, Facebook, or other chatrooms

Internet Safety:

Internet Safety Contact Your ISP and ask questions Block URLs Purchase Online Protection such as: Net Nanny Parental Cyber Sitter Safe Eyes Cyber Patrol


Resources Co-Dependents Anonymous 602-277-7991 Debtors Anonymous 781-453-2743 Gamblers Anonymous 213-386-8789


Bibliography Careaga, A. Hooked on the Net: How to Say “Good Night” When the Party Never Ends, Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2002 Carnes, P. Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, Center City, MN, Hazeldon, 2001 Carnes, P., Delmonico, D., Griffin, E., Moriarity, J. In The Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior , 2001 Grundner, T.M. The Skinner Box Effect: Sexual Addiction and Online Pornography, Lincoln, NE, Writers Club Press, 2000 Young, K. Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction and a Winning Strategy for Recovery, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998

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