Internet Issues In Families: Offspring Calling

08/28/2019, 21:07:00 – Family is our cradle, our base, and if all is well, our final resting place. Family is a corner stone of society and such as, incredibly potential. Family is its own micro-world, very busy world, with its people, boundaries, nations, rules, languages, economics, politics. Family has to face huge tasks and during a short time go through milestone challenges, and above all to keep the appropriate pace with them: how many pinches it gets with every inch to grow?!


Every organism has its good times and the other times. Every organism has its childhood illnesses, which if defeated, increase immunity of the system. Family is no exception, so the symptoms of failing immunity might look like...lying, impulsive or disrespectful behavior, behavioral and school issues, substance abuse, defiant and oppositional behavior, food-related problems, cutting, or Internet/cyber addiction.

Virtual reality and cyberspace represent social place, society that is attractive to teens and adolescents because it represents easy way how to experiment and practice their social skills, get social support and all of that do from home. Research shows that AAA – triple A or triple engine of cyberspace provides explanation to popularity of the Internet and cyberspace. Triple A stands for accessibility, anonymity, and affordability (Wieland, 2005; Philaretou, 2005).

Statistics shows that 1 in 25 teens spends excessive amount of hours on the Internet. 20 hours a week are seen as the time when parents should raise their eyebrows, while 30 hours a week signalize a problem (www.helpguide.org/internet addiction).

What is called Internet Addiction?

  • computer addiction
  • online addiction
  • gaming addiction
  • cyber-relationship addiction
  • cybersex addiction

Internet addiction is described as a compulsive use of Internet. Internet addict prefers virtuality to reality and his/her behavior has negative influence on family and friends, isolation from family and friends, lower productivity, worse school grades and behavior, neglecting hobbies, increased irritability, sense of euphoria while involved in internet activities (www.helpguide.org/internet addiction).

Cyberspace is a new dimension and a context of saturation of various human needs, namely social support and affiliation. It represents a dynamic medium with a multidimensional potential. Efficient way how to cope with the internet issues has to lead through understanding cyberspace as a complex: place that can be as any other society healthy and useful and sure place that can be dangerous and we have to be aware of it, and ready to cope with it.

Every generation of teens and adolescents has its escape routes. Generation of our offsprings represents Millennials (Strauss & Howe, 2000) also called Generation Y (because way different from previous Generation X), Global Generation, Net Generation, Trophy Kids, Boomerang Generation, or Peter Pan Generation. All these names signalize what the escape routes are about.

Let’s consider natural development and aspects of growing and slowly becoming adults. We are talking about 10 years, bounded at the lower end by the ages of 11 or 12 and at the upper end by the ages of 18–19. 10 years represent time of huge changes, shifts, storms and eruptions hitting all spheres of functioning: biological, cognitive, social, and emotional. Our offsprings were supposed to get resources from family to go out and experiment and becoming adults. They are asking for escape routes from the family system, they want to be very different from parents but in many respects they will be the same, and during the opposing and experimenting they might look like refusing family to find their space but at the same moment social support is what they are calling for. They start to speak a different language because their level of social and moral development is contractual, based on negotiating. They start to weigh their needs against society’s needs to maintain social order.

So, what virus is causing the Internet addiction? The latest research shows answers and recommendations:

  • relieve unpleasant and overwhelming feelings: stress, loneliness, depression, anxiety, boredom
  • Internet is AAA – comfortable, always at hand (who else is always at hand?)
  • in many aspects Internet is not discriminatory – used successfully for social support and treatment for people with disabilities, wide range of disorders, to establish new relationships and increase confidence
  • however, there is the vicious circle of the Internet addiction: the longer you spend online, the higher your stress levels will be
  • and at least the harm: while using virtual social support you neglect the real, instrumental support, you are becoming dependent on non-existing virtuality and neglecting reality from where the help can come (Bax & Womans, 2014; Azim, France, & Jirard, 2013; Barak, A., & Boniel-Nissim, M., 2011; Barlinska, Szuster, & Winiewski, 2013; Barnett, R., Brennant, M. A., Dolan, P., & McGrath, B., 2014).

As easy you approach the Internet,that easy you can back away. You may switch it off anytime! But...

There are a number of steps you can take to get your offsprings’ Internet use under control. However it is not possible without intensive whole family involvement, co-operation, and discipline. The more detailed plan you have and the more you get stick to it, the better results you may expect. Keep in mind that Internet is useful tool and can be used for reaching your goal. The Internet however is supposed to be your tool not the master!

Support group Island of Family that starts in September 2014 in Naples and calls for participants in Fort Myers targets entire micro-worlds of families to guide them over the demanding milestones and issues that todays families have to face. Early investment into quality time and care for your island of family will increase family togetherness, strength, permeability, and resilience that will pay off in the near future.

References:

  • Azim, D., Jirard, S., & Kenneth, F. (2013). Informing aggression-prevention efforts by comparing perpetrators of brief vs. extended cyber aggression. Computers in Human Behavior, 29 (6), 2143-2149
  • Bax, T., & Womans, E. (2014). Internet addiction in China: The battle for the hearts and minds of youth. Deviant Behavior, 35, 687-702
  • Barak, A., & Boniel-Nissim, M. (2011). The Therapeutic Value of Adolescents’ Blogging About Social–Emotional Difficulties. Psychological Services, 10 (3); 333–341.doi: 10.1037/a0026664
  • Barlinska, J., Szuster, A., & Winiewski, M. (2013). Cyberbullying among Adolescent Bystanders: Role of the Communication Medium, Form of Violence, and Empathy. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 23 (1), 37
  • Barnett, R., Brennant, M. A., Dolan, P., & McGrath, B. (2014). Adolescents and their networks of social support: real connections in real lives? Child and Family Social Work, 19, 237-248. doi: 10.1111/j. 1365-2206.2012.00899.x
  • Cyberbullying (2014). Retrieved from from http://www.cyberbullying.us
  • Helpguide (2014). Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org
  • Howe, N., & Strauss, W. (2008, 2nd ed.). Millennials Go to College: Strategies for a New Generation on Campus (2nd ed.). Great Falls, MT: LifeCourse Associates Philaretou, A. G. (2005). Net. SeXXX: Readings on Sex, Pornography, and the Internet. The Journal of Sex Research, 42, 181
  • Rathus, Spencer A. (2013, 3rd Ed.) HDev. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Wieland, D. (2005). Computer Addiction: Implications for Nursing Psychotherapy Practice.
  • Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 4, 157 – 159

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