How can Internet Addiction be Treated in Youngsters?
With the development of Internet technology, Internet have affected almost every corner of human life. However, some youngsters have serious issues of Internet addiction. In fact, these young people cannot even live a normal life because they spend so much time on the Internet.
So far, Internet addiction has become a global issue. In the context ofaddiction, ithas bad influences on human’s mind and body in many kinds of fatal ways. This issue first began to be studied in the United States in the mid-1990s (Young, "Internet" ). According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, Internet addiction consists of three different sub-types, which are sexual preoccupations, gaming, and email or text messaging (Myung and Larson). Although Internet addiction is not classified as a mental illness in the American Psychiatri Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (Tinker), which has been praised for standardizing psychiatric diagnostic categories and criteria (Michael). There still are many people who agree that overuse of the Internetis more and more serious.
Additionally, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry, “Internet addiction is considered one of the most serious health issues facing South Korea while approximately 10 million teenagers in China are considered Internet addicts” (Psychguides). Fortunately, people already have studied and begun to take some measures for treating Internet addiction. The research paper points out several ways to treat Internet addiction and analyzes the feasibility of these treatments. Internet addiction can be treated in three ways for youngsters: boot camps, addiction treatment center and parental control software.
A.Internet Addiction Boot Camps
One method recommended to treat Internet addiction is to send youngsters to special boot camps.This method is used for treating Internet addiction in China and Korea mostly.
In Korea, The bootcampfor Internet addiction, “in a forested area about an hour south of Seoul” , was set upto treat the most severe casesof Internet addiction.The camp is totallypaid for by the government, which makesit tuition-free(Martin).
During theprogram, all youngsterslive inthe camp, where they are not allowed to use computer and only have one hour ofcellphone calls a day, to prevent them from surfing the Internetbycellphones. They also follow a rigorous regimen of physical exercise and group activities, like horseback riding, aimed at building emotional connections to the real world and weakening those with the virtual one(Martin).As for this reason, it is considered to keep children away from the Internet completely.
As for China, a number of "addiction boot camps" have been developed to treat Internet addiction in Chinese youngsters. CNN reports in China, these addiction boot camps"is devoted to helping children kick their addiction to the Internet" (00:00:15-00:02:30).These camps operate under strict rules and military-style discipline (Jerald). In boot camps, every kid live same: "awake at 5 a.m., physical training in the morning, lunch, rest, more training, ethics lessons, war movies, dinner and bed" (Gumbrecht).
In fact, boot camps is aneffective methodto treat Internet addiction by creating discipline for youngsters (Kim). As one addiction specialist claims, "Education and living in a military environment makes them more disciplined and restores their ability to live a normal life" (Stone).Additionally, Stone pointsoutthatthese youngsters have to completean education program, which includes classes like music and traditional Chinese dancing.
Essentially, this method is keepingaddictsawaythe from Internet. In their every single life, they have no opportunity to come into contact with a computer. Meanwhile, in order to distract them from the Internet, these addicts have to attend many activities like physical training or culture learning so that they can free themselves from their obsessions.
But, it is has to be mentioned that there are some deficiencies. For example, some camps have been featured in news stories that have exposed their harmful practices. Some young people probably have died while in these camps (Jerald) and might have psychological trauma. Although this method have some disadvantages, to put that in perspective, studies from some research institutions in China and Korea concluded that boot camps still have a certain effectiveness to treat Internet addiction.
B. Internet Addiction Treatment Center
Adding to boot camps, the other methodis to send youngsters tothe addiction treatment centers. Internet addiction treatment centers aim to particularly treat Internet addiction and help addicts recover in a medically environment. Addicts will live in serene environments like the mountains or near the beach. In above environments, they can be treated though a regimen of rest (Psychguides). Therefore, comparing with the boot camp for Internet addiction, treatment center takes a more gradual and scientific approach to treat Internet addiction.
So far, addiction treatment center is widely used for treating Internet addiction in many countries around the world. The New York Times reports that globally, the first inpatient treatment center opened in Beijing, China in 2006, and it is estimated that Korea has over 140 Internet addiction treatment recovery centers (Fackler). As for America, the Center for Internet Addiction was established in 1995 and their web provides education, support, and treatment to people concerned about Internet addiction (Young, "Treatment" ).
For example, a treatment center for Internet addiction in US which opened in 2009 called reSTART. In this treatment center, “patients learn about nutrition, are required to cook meals”, and “required to work out and engage in a physical activity” (Campoamor). It is different from the boot camp of Internet addiction that treatment program in treatment center includes the concern and respect to human beings. Moreover, treatment program will be carried through by “specialized therapists and clinicians” for Internet addicts in the treatment center (Ben).
Another example of treatment centeris reported by CNN. In the US, an inpatient treatment program for Internet addiction opened at Bradford Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania. In this treatment center, patients have the option to extend their retreat after a 45-day retreat called "disconnect and find yourself", which depends on their individual treatment needs (Ben).
The benefits of Internet addiction treatment centers can be huge. This method lures addicts out of the Internet substantially. After an effective treatment program in treatment center, addicts lose interest in a virtual world. Meanwhile, they found real enjoyment of the reality. In all likelihood, not only these young people can free themselves from the Internet, but also get into the Internet as a useful learning tool.
C. Parental Control Software
Above two methods are used for addicts who lose their head. They cannot even control themselves because of serious Internet addiction. The third method, parental control software is used to treat young kids with minor symptoms of Internet addiction. This method is of the great usefulness to prevent Internet addiction in youngsters.
At present, many young peoplehavesmartphones, tablets or PCs of their own.Itis more and moredifficult to know what content they access and who they meet online.A researchindicates that "around half of all European children have online access in their bedrooms, and a quarter of 12-to-15-year-olds now own a tablet, according to the ITU" (Yang).Now, one of the biggestchallenges facing parents is how to ensure their children remain safe online(Casserly). In the US, 55% of children aged 12–15 admittedthey did not tell their parentseverything they did online (Çankayaand Odabaşı).
Now, there are several tools called parental control software, which can helpparentsto restrict their children’s computer andInternet use. A number of different kinds of software tools are in this market these days. For example, there is a parental control software named Qustodiowith full functionality. Specially, parents can set rules and time schedulesof using the Internet, block pornography and other unsuitable contenton the Internet by Qustodio(Marshall). The other example is called Kidlogger. This free parental control software not only tracks whatchildren type and which websites they visit but also keeps a record of which programs they use and any screen-grabs they take(Marshall).
In addition, some functions of parental control software are mentioned in "Parental controls on children's computer and Internet use" (Çankayaand Odabaşı). For instance, "Time-Limiting" allows “parents to set limits on how much time or at what time a child canuse the computer or the Internet”. "Filtering and Blocking" limits access to some sites, wordsor images. And "Kid-OrientedSearch Engines" work like regular search engines but also provide special features to screen out inappropriatematerial(Çankayaand Odabaşı).
Basing on these above functions, parental control software is actually a useful and effective method to prevent kids from some contents which are unsuitable for children on the Internet. Parental control software can limit time that kids take to get on the Internet as well so that parents can protect their children from Internet addiction before their children are addicted to the Internet. Moreover, parentshave the responsibilitytotakeprecautions of Internet addiction for their children.By using these parental control software, theycan protect their children fromInternet addiction.
In summary, it seems that many youngsters cannot live without the Internet. Moreover, the numberof children suffering from Internet dependenceis increasing, asmany of them are unable to stop their addiction to social media, online games, virtual communicationsor even pornography.To address this problem, there are threeways to treat Internet addiction for youngsters: boot camps, addiction treatment center and parental control software.Perhaps, treating addicted youngsters is best accomplished by addiction treatment center, which provideseffective treatment program with respect to human beings. Once these adolescents realize that virtual world is far less interesting by compared with the reality, they will have more bright beautiful future then before.
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