Can cyberholism be cured?

The hospital in a small town of E³k may soon become a destination of pilgrimages of anxious parents with their children – informs Gazeta Olsztyñska. In the first half of the year, the hospital in Ełk will soon become a destination for worried parents with children, reports Gazeta Olsztyńska. “Alcohol is already used by eight-year-olds and drugs by twelve-year-olds”. – Prof. Elżbieta Łuczak, head of the Department of Social Sociopathology at the WSP-TWP (Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities) in Olsztyn, tells Gazeta Wyborcza. – My research shows, however, that a new problem needs to be addressed: young people at this age are increasingly falling into interholism, i.e. Internet addiction”. Most often these are boys who receive a computer for going to school or for the First Communion. It starts with games, and when these get boring – young people discover the Internet.

It is possible to fall into addiction to the network even at the age of 6-9 years – alarm specialists. Common anonymity and “dyslexia” epidemic enable gifted youngsters to hide their real age, their online interlocutors think they are children, but about twice their age. And online entertainment is addictive. There is a “compulsion” to be online, the child reacts with irritation to every Internet or computer malfunction, and a “grounding on the computer” (e.g. for poor grades). (e.g. for poor grades) is one of the most severe punishments. As a result – sleepless nights and poorer results in school. And yet the computer was bought to “help in education”. – specialists sound the alarm.

The child-networker has no time to do homework or help at home, and responds to parental nagging with the words: “I’m [b]learning[/b] online now”. The addiction is facilitated by advice from other Internet users on how to get rid of “pushy elders” or how to bypass online bans – so as to be online as much as possible. At the expense of everything.

But just as an alcoholic or a drug addict doesn’t care about the consequences of drinking or drinking to excess, a network user doesn’t care about the consequences of spending too much time in the virtual world. Young boys are the group most susceptible to the drug-like effects of the Internet. This does not mean, however, that the problem does not concern older boys.

With slightly older Internet users – we start to meet more and more netaholic girls. The effects – similar to the younger ones – are sleepless nights and worse results at school or university. The Internet can also be a nightmare for people who are quite mature. Especially sensitive and mentally weak people, who don’t get along well, are susceptible to networkoholism. They have their own little virtual world on the net. And with them we observe the same symptoms. However, the consequences here may be even more serious than in the case of young people. Especially since the elderly can spend much more time online than the young: they can surf from their work equipment during working hours, while at home no parent can tear them away from the PC they bought with their own money. Sleepless nights and reduced productivity at work – in the case of the “youngsters”, this will at most result in repeating a year or changing schools. In the case of older people, it may result in loss of employment.

Networking can be similarly dangerous to one’s private life. And here, too, the consequences are worse in the case of older interferers. Experts point out that the Internet is one of the biggest threats to marriages and families, even starting to threaten alcoholism. The more dangerous is the fact that, unlike in the case of drunkenness, everything happens “in white gloves”, and (for example) the police – who can legally lock up an alcoholic who abuses his family – will not do so in the case of a sober netaholic cheating on his wife via the net. Older adolescents, too, may have life problems resulting from network alcoholism. The partner on the other side of the wire appears to be ideal, but in practice he or she is a disappointment. Much more so than a partner from the beginning to the end of “getting to know in real life”.

So networkoholism should be cured. But how? The above mentioned center for treating addiction to the Internet is to be created in Ełk. Around the clock help from psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists will find here 30 people up to 19 years old. The center will be run by. The Association of Catholic Anti-Drug Movement “Karan” from Elbląg, which already has experience in treating young alcoholics and drug addicts in its city. However, as the creators of “Karan” admit – about the effects of their work for now it is difficult to talk: treatment with the help of group and individual therapy takes up to a year and a half. “We find out that young people who are addicted to drugs, often become addicted to the Internet, lying or sex. – says Rev. Edward Rysztowski, chairman of the Elbląg branch of “Karan”. He explains to the Gazeta Wyborcza journalist why they intend to take on a new challenge. The treatment in the Elbląg center will be free of charge, financed by the Warmia and Mazury branch of the NFZ.

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