Internet Addiction and Our Susceptible Youth

I just wrote a paper, The Physiology of (Internet) Addiction, on the particular impact that excessive internet use can have on our developing children a few years ago, and frankly, it was scary.

This issue is growing globally at a fast rate. It is increasing faster than the reach of technology, meaning it is not just the access to the internet that drives it but rather a change in culture that feeds this growth within a specific community of users.

I feel that we, as a culture, are taking a way too casual approach to this potential issue, and we will see a HUGE wave of massive behavioral, social, health, and mental health issues pour upon our youth and young young adults within the next 10 years.

Internet addiction starts in the home, my friends. In Asian cultures that revere focused family time with more value typically than here in the west, they report higher internet use per capita than here, indicating the subtle changes they have seen in their culture.

And look, I am not talking about online gambling or cybersexual activity. Here, I am talking about gaming, scholarly, and entertainment usage.

Developing kids as they search to fit in, seek out peer groups, and look for different ways to express themselves will find huge draws and opportunities to build internet versions and variations of their personas and potentially start playing into some missing support or positive feedback loop in their lives especially as their actual reality of social interaction decreases……due to excessive internet/computer use.

Excessive internet use is proving to change the wiring, firing, intercommunications, and actual brain substrate and hormonal chemistry of the developing brain both at the primitive functional levels and the higher cognitive thought regions. BAD combination!

We are talking about behavioral alterations, cognitive impulse control issues, impulsivity, decision making, avoidance of risky behavior, increased reward firing, and inhibition of critical thinking and alternate behavioral options solutions.

What does all that mean in English? Increased correlations of depression, anxiety, psychosocial problems, mood issues, memory issues, control and impulsivity, and increased general addiction susceptibility!

And this damage can start at a very early age and may be permanent.

Parents, it is up to us. We must know this, talk to our kids, and MAKE SOME DISTINCT BOUNDARIES! NOW!

I still need to get all the answers or complete plans here. I am walking this path with you and learning as I go, but I do know what we let them do, or stop them from doing NOW, is sculpting their future selves, thinking, behavior, health, and mental well-being.

Please take this seriously, my friends, and share your thoughts and solutions with me.

We can do better!

Dr. Don