Recognizing Internet Addiction in Youth
(summary and exerpts of article, “Caught in the Net” from The Journal of Adventist Education, April/May 2016, http://jae.adventist.org)
The use of technology has exploded over the past few decades with access to high-speed Internet. The educational and social benefits are many. However, a growing number of experts, including Kimberley Young, founder of the Center for Internet Addiction; and David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Technology and Internet Addiction, have voiced concern that some computer users are becoming dependent on the Internet to the point that their behaviors resemble that of full-blown addiction. Children and adolescents, in particular, are at risk for developing Internet addiction, as Internet use may become a strategy for coping with developmental stressors and they may turn to the online world to escape from difficult tasks. Children and adolescents who lack rewarding or nurturing relationships and who have poor social skills and difficulty making friends are more susceptible to turning to virtual interactions to meet their need for attention and friendship.
So what is Internet addiction? Internet addiction refers to a pathological use of computers or technology that is characterized by intrusive urges to engage in online behaviors to an extent that contributes to significant impairments in daily life (e.g., relationships, school, physical health). Internet addiction can take many forms, such as excessive gaming, online gambling, pornography, compulsive use of social media, and excessive and compulsive texting. Research shows that problematic Internet use can have long-lasting negative consequences, including changes to the developing brain and severe impairment in academic and social functioning. Emerging research shows that brain activation patterns found in individuals who are addicted to the Internet are similar to those found in individuals with chemical addictions.
There are six core factors that can be seen in Internet addiction:
- Salience. The Internet takes priority over family, school, work, etc. The addict constantly thinks about being online when offline, experiencing cravings.
- Mood modification. Internet use becomes a coping strategy for relieving negative moods or stress. Users may experience a “high” or a sense of euphoric numbing.
- Tolerance. Users increase their time online in order to extend or intensify mood-altering effects. (e.g., sneaks online or lies about the extent of Internet use.)
- Withdraw. Users experience negative symptoms (e.g., moodiness, irritability) when their Internet use is eliminated or suddenly reduced.
- Conflict. Excessive Internet use begins to impair physical, social, educational functioning; causing a loss of control. (e.g., grades drop, looses interest in sports, estranged relationships.)
- Relapse. Problematic behavioral patterns return after a period of abstinence or control.
What should a parent do if they believe their child is addicted to the Internet?
- Don’t ignore the problem. Take it seriously. Help educate your child on the warning signs and risk factors of Internet addiction. Help your child recognize how their excessive Internet use is damaging their life.
- Avoid the blame game. Make sure everyone takes part of the responsibility.
- Work on a solution together. Rather than abstinence, help your child learn how to manage and regain control over Internet use, as well as treating underlying problems leading to compulsive use. (e.g. use a timer, match time spent online with in-person social interactions, increase non-computer-related activities – sports, music, volunteer work, job, church, etc.)
- Help increase your child’s social skills and build their self-esteem. (Helping your child build strong bonds with others and gain confidence through skill development is the most basic form of prevention for addiction.)
- Help your child understand that they are powerlessness to stop their addiction without God’s divine intervention. Help your child seek God’s help.
- If your child is suffering from an underlying psychological disorder such as depression, seek the help of a professional counselor. Research shows that Cognitive Behavioral treatment (CBT) is effective for Internet addiction. CBT highlights how underlying distorted thoughts about self (e.g., I am weak when I am offline, but online I am somebody.) are linked to problematic behaviors and teaches how to change those thoughts and behaviors.
In conclusion, parents and educators are encouraged to be watchful for signs of addiction. With ongoing support from loved ones and professionals, our children can learn to accept the need for intervention in reorganizing their priorities so that the Internet becomes a tool that is used in a healthful manner and does not take away from the development of their God-given potential, real life relationships, and their faith and relationship with God.
CHARACTER VALUE OF THE MONTH: For the month of January our school is emphasizing the character value of Perseverance. “And we also have joy with our troubles because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:3-4
BUS DRIVER’S GREETING: Here’s a special greeting that was delivered to all CWAA Staff just before the Christmas break from our Bus Drivers. We’re sharing this with our school community as it’s a wonderful statement that speaks of the quality of our students and families! Click on the button below to read.
ALBERTA EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY PILLAR SURVEY: It’s that time of year where Alberta Education is seeking your input about the education we are delivering at CWAA! From January to the end of February, Alberta Education will be conducting its annual “Accountability Pillar Survey”. The Accountability Pillar Survey assesses various aspects of quality; student outcomes, provincial assessments of student learning, community engagement and satisfaction, school experience, etc. Within the next few weeks, all CWAA parents will receive a survey from Alberta Education in the mail. In February, CWAA students and all teachers will be completing their surveys online at school. All surveys are anonymous. In addition to English and French, the parent survey is available in Chinese, Punjabi, Arabic, Blackfoot, Cree, Korean, Spanish and Tagalog. Your participation in the survey helps provide important information on the quality of education your child is receiving at CWAA, so we encourage you to return your survey promptly. Survey results will be available to school authorities in May 2017. Thank you for your participation in this important process!
CITRUS FRUIT: There will be no more citrus fundraising orders this school year. Thanks for your support of our November order!
GIFT CARDS: The next FundScrip gift card order deadline is Thursday, January 19. Buy gift cards at face value for the grocery stores, gas stations, clothing stores, and restaurants that you normally visit. FundScrip pays Chinook Winds a percentage of the value of the gift card. This fundraiser doesn’t cost you anything extra, and is a great way to help us raise money for the 2017 CWAA Bolivia Mission Trip. Please turn your orders in to the CWAA office with cash or cheque payment by the order deadline. Your gift cards will be delivered to CWAA within about 1 week after the order deadline. Click the button below to access an order form.
PRAYING PARENTS: Praying Parents Group will not meet this Thursday, as this is a short school week, but they will begin meetings again next Thursday, January 12th. Come join this group for prayer on Thursday mornings in the school lobby. They meet to pray for our school, our staff, our students and our families. All are welcome!
IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES:
Jan 10 Mission Trip Meeting # 2, 4 pm
Jan 11 Grades K-6 Skating Day to Crowfoot Twin Arena 12:30 – 2:45 pm
Jan 16 School Board Meeting 7 pm
Jan 18 Gr 10 Spanish Field Trip to Salt & Pepper Restaurant
Jan 19 Mission Trip Meeting # 3, 4 pm
Jan 23-30 Secondary Midterm/Final Exams
Jan 30 Secondary End of Term 2
Jan 31 Teachers Organizational Day (No School Kindergarten – Grade 12)
Feb 1 Semester Break (No School Grades 7 – 12)
Feb 2 Secondary Report Cards home
Feb 2 Secondary Semester 2 Begins
Feb 6 Grades 4 – 6 Trip to Telus Sparks Science Centre
Feb 6 Grade 12 Physics Trip to Rothney Astrophysical Observatory
Feb 7 Junior High Parent-Teacher Interviews 4 – 8 pm
Feb 8 Grade 2 Nursing Home Visit to Wentworth Manor
Feb 9 Mission Trip Meeting # 4, 4 pm
Feb 13 Grade 8 – 9 Trip to National Geographic Live at Jack Singer Concert Hall
Feb 15 Grade 12 Physics / Biology Trip to Telus Spark / Gimbel Eye Surgery
Feb 15 Grades 5 & 9 Student Vaccinations
Feb 16 CWAA Open House 5 – 8 pm (2017-18 Registration Begins)
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28–31, NLT)
As we begin a new year, may each of us remember that we serve an everlasting and powerful God! May we trust Him to strengthen us and lead us in His paths.
Happy New Year!
Chinook Winds Adventist Academy