By Dr. Brent Conrad, Clinical Psychologist at TechAddiction.ca
A new study has found that young adults who remember their parents as being overly stick, demanding, and without being affectionate, tended to be more likely to have problematic Internet use (often referred to as Internet Addiction).
As this is obviously a correlational finding (and we all know that correlation does not imply causation), the authors suggest that other factors may be at play.
For example, kids with very demanding parents who lack affection may experience mood problems, may have difficulty relating to peers in person, or may struggle to making friends in general…which may cause them to retreat to online games for comfort and support.
The study of 600 adults concluded that almost 2% of men and 0.6% of women could be classified as “severely addicted”.
The take home message is pretty simple isn’t it? Be an authoritative, not an authoritarian parent. Set reasonable expectations for your children, but don’t expect perfection and 100% obedience all the time. And always show that you care for them and love them.
Doing so may protect not only against Internet Addiction, but will likely prevent many (many) other problems as well.
Original Article: Parenting Style and Internet Addiction
Study finds that heavy users of the Internet are more likely to be depressed and suggests that they may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of drug users.
A recent study in the international journal PLOS ONE, has found that excessive users of the Internet are more likely to experience mood difficulties such as depression than those with more moderate habits.
The study also concluded that heavy users of the Internet may suffer from mood-related withdrawal symptoms when access to the Internet is removed.
How about an attention-grabbing quote from the researchers?
When these people come off-line, they suffer from increased negative mood – just like people coming off illegal drugs lke ecstasy.”
Here’s the thing – excessive use of the Internet is a real problem for some people, and it doesn’t matter if we call it an “addiction”, “excessive use”, or “unhealthy habits”. It can certainly cause problems at school, work, and in relationships. I’ve seen it and I work with it every day.
By the way, deterioration in mood was tested like this:
1. Baseline mood questionnaire
2. Use the Internet in a lab setting for 15 minutes
3. 2nd mood questionnaire
External validity questions aside, I don’t see a lot of value in trying to equate video game and Internet addiction with drug addiction. In my opinion this trivializes the very serious problem of drug and alcohol addiction and does nothing to “legitimize” the problem of unhealthy online habits.
Comparing online habits to ecstasy is not very helpful – it just seems like an unnecessary attempt to give weight to the very real problem (for some) of Internet addiction.
Internet addiction (or video game addiction) is comparable to drug addiction: Agree or disagree?
For the very first time, Canadians are spending more time online than watching TV.
“Some industry watchers have noted the cost of watching TV is rising as cable TV companies and satellite operators raise the monthly cost of service. As that happens more people are watching TV online for free.”
“For the younger generations, the computer is much more important than the television and they generally spend more time online than those over 55”
Sydney University psychiatry professor Vladan Starcevic has urged Austrilia to consider a gaming rebhab centre similar to the one recently opened in London.
According to his own research with a sample of 2000 individuals, one in ten gamers showed signs of addiction.
“We have people in this country who do have a problem with that just like with gambling and other addictive behaviours,”
All well and good, but I’m not crazy about the untested methodology used by many of the recently opened inpatient facilities. Also, I am very much against the tens of thousands of dollars charged by the centres for treatment – it just seems blatantly exploitative.
Following up on the previous post regarding videogame addiction in children, Michael Gallagher, the president of Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has challenged the conclusions of the researchers and suggests that the study used “flawed methodology.”
“Gallagher goes on to point out that Gentile conceded in an interview that he was unaware that the sample group for the study was not randomly chosen, but instead comprised of a ‘convenience’ sample of individuals who agreed to participate in the survey.”
This is often a problem you run into when conducting research – true random selection is quite elusive and samples of convenience are certainly not as desirable.
The question is, on a survey asking about videogame habits, who is most likely to respond – those who are light or moderate players, or those who play excessively?
Obviously, your sample selection influences your results – and I suspect that such a study may over-sample somewhat on the hard-core gamer side.