Internet addiction cases on the rise - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Internet addiction cases on the rise

Janet Kyle James, Certified Addiction Counselor Janet Kyle James, Certified Addiction Counselor
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

How much time do you spend online every day?  Maybe more than you think. 

Researchers say Internet addiction is a growing problem.  Now, a hospital in Pennsylvania has started the first hospital-based Internet addiction treatment center in the nation.

Whether checking a friend's social media page or just surfing the web, people are spending more time in front of their screens. 

"I don't think a lot of people would even know right now because it is such a norm, just like alcoholism," said Janet Kyle James, Certified Addiction Counselor. 

Internet addiction is becoming more prevalent. 

James said she's never seen a case here in Southwest Georgia, but thinks it will become a problem in the future.

"I can absolutely see why the hospital has opened up in Pennsylvania.  And I support it 100-percent," she said.

The term "Internet Addiction" was first coined in the mid 90s, and has become increasingly common as technological advances like smart phones have shrunk the cyber world into our own pockets. 

When I think Internet addiction, the first thing that comes up to me is like pornographic issues, you know.  And pornography is a huge addiction," James said. 

But doctors at the nation's only hospital-based Internet treatment center, the Behavioral Health Services at Bradford Regional Medical Center, say online gaming is the leading problem, mostly for young males.

"I think everybody just needs to, you know, have their eyes wide open and look straight ahead and go, 'This could happen,' and be preventative about it," said James. 

All of the centers we spoke with in Albany didn't have a specific treatment program for Internet addiction, but James said there are still options for those who need help.

"We treat drug addiction, alcoholism, cutting, burning, eating disorders, gambling.  The Internet addiction would fall right in that same process with the 12 step methodology of alcoholics anonymous," she said. 

And that help could be just a phone call away. 

Addiction counselors recommend parents monitor their children's online activity.  They said one addiction can lead to another and urge those in need to call for help before it's too late.  

 

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