But there are some things that are new – and they are potentially dangerous. And they are so new that often parents are unaware of their dangers, or unable to take action until it is “too late.” Technology has completely raced past our wisdom or experiences as a culture or as families. Parents are often stuck like deer in the headlights. And our teenagers are often in serious trouble. Just ten years ago the major problem from technology was video game addiction. Some laughed at the idea until they saw lives, college careers, marriages, and families completely destroyed because of video game addictions. Between 10%-20% of children and teenagers show signs of video game addiction, including playing the game at least 24 hours each week, increasing attention and concentration problems, increasing problems in school, increasing social problems, increasing frustration when unable to play, and other behaviors that look more like the behaviors of an adult alcoholic than that of a normal child or teen. This is still a real problem, but it was only the beginning. See http://newideas.net/video-games-and-attention-problems
Then came internet pornography. This has become an incredible addiction for both men and women. The average age of a male becoming “hooked” on internet porn is eleven years old. Internet porn addiction is very real and is a difficult problem to solve. It is potentially very destructive, and creates a gap between what is reality and what is fantasy. The impact is felt into one’s marriage, often destroying it completely. How big is the problem? Forty million Americans regularly visit porn sites, and 35% of all downloads are porn related. About 200,000 Americans are porn “addicts,” about one-third of them females. Everyday search engines get on average 116,000 search requests related to “child pornography.” How Does This Impact Teenagers?
- Teenagers with frequent exposure to internet porn or sexual content via TV or movies are twice as likely to be sexually active and get pregnant as a teen that does not view such material;
- Teenagers who frequent online porn are more likely to experience loneliness, shame, guilt, and depression;
- All internet addictions, including porn, leads to brain changes for the worse and are similar to the brain changes that result from other forms of addictions.
- There is a desensitization to pleasure, and a craving for more stimulation to regain the feeling of pleasure.
- There is an increase in cravings for the behavior.
- There is a reduction in self-control.
- There is a reduction in the ability to see the natural consequences for the behavior.
- There is a reduction in the ability to make good decisions.
- Frontal lobe gray matter appears to atrophy, and the information processing white matter seems to become impaired.
Douglas Cowan is a Marriage and Family Therapist providing professional counseling to Tehachapi and Bakersfield, CA.
How Does This Impact Adults and Families?
- The impact is the same of adults, but adults rarely get help before the natural consequences come. Jesus Christ said, “Whatever a man sows is the crop that he will reap.” This summarized the law of natural consequences.
- An adult man or woman who is becoming addicted to the internet, either through video games or pornography, or even Facebook or Reddit, will ultimately suffer the same brain changes as described above.
- And they will likely suffer more serious consequences as adults simply have more to lose: jobs, marriages, and families.
- Over 45% of families report that internet porn is a problem in their home.
- Over 55% of divorces now involved one spouse being hooked on internet porn.
Call our office to set up an appointment to get started with helping your loved one overcome these problems. (661) 972-5953 for counseling in Tehachapi or Bakersfield. Learn more at DouglasCowan.me .
http://www.mapsofworld.com/poll/is-internet-addiction-real-facts-infographic.html has a good info-graphic on just how big this problem is. Help is available for both teenagers and adults. Call Dr. Cowan at (661) 972-5953.