My name is Brook Price, I’m the co-founder of Forte Strong and I’m really interested in learning more about your son so I can help YOU help HIM. Let me first tell you that I’ve helped young men succeed for over thirteen years and I’m an open book so if you have any questions at all, feel free to ask. You wanted to know more about Forte Strong and what we do. Forte Strong is a 6 month program located in Southern Utah that specifically addresses the “Failure to Launch” epidemic that is sweeping our nation. We only work with a very specific niche of young men which is just one of the reasons why we have achieved so much success. Our students typically struggle becoming happy, successful and independent young men for a host of reasons which I will mention. The biggest reason is not a lack of intelligence or skill, it’s a lack of confidence. 99% of the students that I see are not at home as result of making bad decisions as much as a result of making no decisions. Plain and simple truth is they are afraid of failure. Afraid of making mistakes, so they make the biggest mistake of all… they stop trying. They confine themselves to their rooms and hardly come out, afraid to live in an ever changing world with a multitude of unknowns. If this sounds like your son than you have come to the right place. If not, I would gladly recommend another program.
your son is living at home with no strings attached, your son is dependent. If your son is out of the house but something in the pit of your stomach tells you he’ll coming back, more than likely your son is dependent, living an independent lifestyle until something unexpected happens and he has to problem solve. Parents really only have 2 choices. You can kick him out of the house in hopes he can make it on his own or you can seek help.
Now ask yourself. Is your son independent or does he merely living an independent lifestyle? If
Parents begin to search for answers. They read book, articles, listen to audio tapes and watch video clips offering different explanations and approaches. The easiest of all these approaches is drugs. reasons as to why their son is failing to launch. Some turn to psychiatrists for medications to
Often parents are interested in wanting their son to get a job, earn money, manage money, pay bills in hopes that they will learn something and eventually move out. There are two things that are wrong with this approach… first, there is no leverage. Let me explain what leverage is first. Leverage is the power or ability to act or to influence people, events,decisions, etc.; sway. Where is the leverage if the boy is still at home with his every need taken care of by someone else. There isn’t any leverage. Second is that true independence is not just about being able to make it on your own financially,
Many parents today are faced with a dilemma: How do I support my adult child in becoming independent? Do I let my adult child live in my home while he or she struggles to find a job? These parents think, “The economy is bad…maybe there really are no jobs out there. Should I continue paying for things like my child’s vehicle, insurance, clothes and cell phone? Maybe I should move him into an apartment just to get him out and pay the first few months’ rent, but after that it’s up to him. Or do I just kick him out of the nest and hope he learns to fly?” Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner understand and have helped countless families in this situation. In their popular series on adult children in Empowering Parents, readers have learned why so many adult kids still live at home, and how adult children work “the parent system.” In Part 3, you’ll hear six specific steps that will help your adult child leave the nest.
The important thing to remember: your adult child is notentitled to live in your home past the age of eighteen. It’s a privilege and you have every right to set the parameters. That’s always been your right – and always will be.
First of all, we understand that many families in today’s economy do share a household for financial or other reasons. If you’re in a situation where your adult child is living with you and it’s mutually beneficial – or at the very least mutually respectful – that’s fine. This article is intended to help parents whose adult child is dependent or lives at home in a situation that’s become uncomfortable or even intolerable. In recent articles, we’ve looked at how over time our society has moved from caring for our children to caretaking for our children, sometimes long into their adulthood. Many parents are held hostage by emotions: anger, frustration, disappointment, guilt and fear of what will happen if they do throw their adult birdie out of the nest without a net. Today, we’re going to give you some concrete steps to help that birdie finally fly!
Step One: Know Where You Are
The first task in moving your adult child toward independence is to assess where you are right now. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you in a place where your boundaries are being crossed and you need to establish some limits?
- Are you willing to allow your adult child to live in your home, within those limits, as he or she moves toward being more independent?
- Do you see your adult child as wanting to become independent, or as simply being more comfortable allowing you to take care of all their responsibilities?
- Has the situation become so intolerable – perhaps even volatile – that your main concern is getting your adult child out of your house, as quickly and safely as possible?
Where you are with regard to your adult child will determine—in part —what steps you need to take next.
Step Two: Change Your View
Instead of picturing of your adult child as a little bird whose wings may not hold him up when he leaves the nest, think of him as fully capable of flying. Our emotions can cause us to be so afraid of what will happen to our kids that we think of them as children, rather than adults. In reality, your adult child is an adult—equal to you and equally capable of making it in this world. Thinking of him as incapable is actually a disservice to him and keeps you in parental caretaking mode. Your adult child may be uncomfortable with some of the steps you’re taking that encourage more responsibility but that’s okay. It’s what he needs to experience in order to make changes within himself. Changing your viewpoint will help you strengthen those “guilt” and “fear” emotional buttons.
Step Three: Identify and Strengthen Your Emotional Buttons
Identify ahead of time what your limits and boundaries are, what you’re willing to follow through with and which emotional buttons will most likely get you to give in. One parent told us, “I’m okay with my adult child not having extras (cell phone, video games, internet, haircuts) but I can’t let him be on the street. I know myself. I’ll never stick to it.” That parent knew they would allow their child to live in their home without the benefit of extras or entitlements, so that’s the boundary that was established. Turns out, that adult child decided those “extras” were important to him, so once his parent shut down the Parent ATM, he was motivated to get a job and pay for things—including an apartment—himself.
Step Four: Make Your Boundaries Clear
Once you’ve strengthened your emotional buttons, it’s time to share what the new reality will be with your adult child. If your adult daughter lives in a separate residence but still depends on you as a source of income, make your boundaries clear: state what you will and will not pay for. If you need to start out small and work your way up, that’s okay. If you just can’t stop buying groceries yet because you know you won’t follow through with allowing your daughter to eat at soup kitchens or wherever she can find food (friends, etc.), then start with things like cell phones, haircuts, money for gas, cigarettes, internet and other non-necessities. It’s her responsibility to locate resources: friends, churches, government assistance. Your adult child can always apply for assistance through government programs such as food stamps and rental assistance if she is truly unable to locate work and support herself.
If your adult child lives in your home, draw up a contract that specifies the terms of her living there. This is an agreement between two adults. Don’t think of her as your child; picture her as a tenant. Then you’ll be less likely to have your emotional buttons set off. (If your neighbor gave you a sob story about how much she needed a cell phone, would you buy it? And pay the monthly bill?) An adult child may decide he or she doesn’t like the contract and will decide to live elsewhere. More power to them! The important thing to remember: your adult child is not entitled to live in your home past the age of eighteen. It’s a privilege and you have every right to set the parameters. That’s always been your right – and always will be.
Step Five: Shut Down the Parent ATM (PATM)!
The key to launching your adult birdie is to make it more uncomfortable to depend on you than to launch. A huge part of making your adult child uncomfortable is to stop paying for all the “extras”: things he or she views as necessities that really aren’t. In this world, he can live without cell phones, internet, computers, haircuts, make-up, clothes from the mall, video games and any other leisure activity you can name. If he’s struggling, he can get clothes from Salvation Army or Goodwill. He can take the bus. He can eat cheap. (Think boxed macaroni & cheese and Ramen noodles. You know…what many of us ate when we didn’t have any money.) If he doesn’t have the money for cigarettes or alcohol– he doesn’t get them. Many adult children make a career out of working their parents to provide things for them that they can’t afford themselves.
Most people aren’t going to provide these things to your adult child. There is no Neighbor ATM, Friend ATM (well, maybe a few times, but they’ll shut that down real quick) or Third-Cousin-Twice-Removed ATM. But there is a Parent ATM. Why? Because we’re typically the only ones with emotional PINs that work to spit that money out! (Read the previous article on emotional buttons and continue to strengthen them, so you can stop paying for things that keep your adult child comfortable. Disconnecting those buttons—and turning off the Parent ATM—is probably the biggest step you will take toward launching your adult son or daughter.)
Look at it this way. Your adult son’s hair can get really, really long; he doesn’t need a haircut. He doesn’t have to text; he can write letters. Stamps are less than a dollar vs. a $50/month data package. He can live without these things. Truly. He just doesn’t want to. It’s okay for your adult child to be uncomfortable; we’ve all been uncomfortable and survived. It’s actually a good thing and necessary for change.
This is the key: change occurs when things feel uncomfortable, out of balance or unsteady for a person. It’s what motivates them to find their equilibrium again, through employment, returning to college, offering their services through odd jobs or whatever it takes to get the things in life that they want.
Step Six: Enough is Enough
Some parents have adult children at home who are abusing them verbally or even physically. You have the right to live in your own home, free from abuse, intimidation or disrespect. Anytime someone treats you in this way, they are violating a boundary and sometimes violating the law. It’s your right to establish personal boundaries that keep you physically and emotionally safe. In other situations, some adult children are not quite abusive, but they have literally worn out their welcome by taking and taking (financially and emotionally) without giving in return. The bottom line is you do not have to feel guilty about moving your adult child into independence so you can have your own life back. You have the right to spend your money on things for yourself. You have the right to enjoy peaceful evenings in your own home. You have the right to have the environment you want in your home. You’ve raised your child. He’s an adult now. You are not expected to provide for him any more than your parents are expected to provide for you as an adult.
If you are in a situation that is intolerable with your adult child and have decided he needs to move out of your home, the following steps will help:
Remember to strengthen those emotional buttons. If your adult child typically pushes the “guilt” and “sympathy” buttons in order to stay dependent and comfortable, prepare yourself for what’s coming and come up with a plan on how you’ll handle it. You might even try making some note cards or adopt a slogan to remind yourself that you have the right to have your own home, free from negativity or meeting another adult’s needs.
Next, contact your local court to gather information about what legal steps you can take to move your adult child out. Many states require you to serve a “Notice to Quit” to any adult living in your home. If your adult child still refuses to leave, you may need to follow up with an Eviction Notice that gives a deadline for him to move out, typically thirty days. If your adult child still refuses to leave, your local police department can enforce the eviction and will often notify the person that they will be escorted out of the home anywhere from 24 to 48 hours later. (Note: We aren’t able to address all legalities fully in this article due to the fact that each state differs in its laws regarding eviction.)
Eviction steps may sound harsh but remember to think of your adult as a tenant. If you’re to the point of evicting your adult son or daughter out of your home, things have probably reached a point that is simply intolerable for you. Your adult child may resist moving out at first, but again, the more uncomfortable he is, the more likely he is to leave on his own accord. If you fear violence or other repercussions from your child because of these steps, it’s beneficial to seek out local resources on domestic violence and/or contact the court regarding your right to a restraining order. Safety always comes first and if you’re in a domestic violence situation with your adult child, you’ll want to talk with someone knowledgeable about a safety plan.
A Side Note…
If you’re living with a spouse or long-term partner who is not on the same page as you, it can make putting these steps into effect extremely difficult. You can only control yourself. If it’s causing serious conflict, you may want to seek counseling regarding how you can come to a mutual agreement.
The Bottom Line
Many, many young adults are struggling to become independent in today’s generation. Yes, the economy is bad and our country is experiencing hard times. But that’s nothing new. We’ve gone through recessions and depressions in the past. Families used to have “leftover parties,” where they got together and turned their leftovers into a meal. They used to wait until the weekend to talk on the phone to long-distance relatives so the rates were lower. Sometimes there wasn’t a yearly vacation and kids brown-bagged it instead of buying hot lunches. There’s nothing wrong with a family pulling together to make it in today’s world. The difference with many of the young adults in today’s generation seems to be in the sense of entitlement and the aversion to sacrificing in order to make it. Gone are the days of “If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.” Today, society is all about technology and instant gratification. But it’s not too late to teach our adult children the values of delayed gratification and working for things they desire. It’s okay for them to be uncomfortable and realize they can survive hard times through self reliance. If your guilt or fear buttons start reacting, remember: we give our kids these lessons out of love.
By Serena Gordon
“What we’ve known from other studies is that video gaming addiction looks similar to other addictions. But what wasn’t clear was what comes before what. Gaming might be a secondary problem. It might be that kids who are socially awkward, who aren’t doing well in school, get depressed and then lose themselves into games. We haven’t really known if gaming is important by itself, or what puts kids at risk for becoming addicted,” said Douglas A. Gentile, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University in Ames.
Not only did the study reveal risk factors for pathological gaming, “the real surprise came from looking at the outcomes, because we had assumed depression might be the real problem,” explained Gentile. “But we found that in kids who started gaming pathologically, depression and anxiety got worse. And, when they stopped gaming, the depression lifted. It may be that these disorders [co-exist], but games seem to make the problem worse.”
Playing video games more than 30 hours a week, lack of social competence, less-than-average empathy and greater impulsivity all contributed to the addiction, the researchers found.
Gentile also recommends no more than two hours a day of “screen time,” in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines. And, screen time includes TV, computer, video games and even the newest music players and smart phones that have computer-like capabilities.
By Lindsey Tanner
CHICAGO — The telltale signs are ominous: teens holing up in their rooms, ignoring friends, family, even food and a shower, while grades plummet and belligerence soars.
The culprit isn’t alcohol or drugs. It’s video games, which for certain kids can be as powerfully addictive as heroin, some doctors contend.
Up to 90 percent of American youngsters play video games and as many as 15 percent of them — more than 5 million kids — may be addicted, according to data cited in the AMA council’s report.
Postings also come from adults, mostly men, who say video game addiction cost them jobs, family lives and self-esteem.
The study found that 88 percent of the nation’s children ages 8 to 18 play video games. With 45 million children of that age in the country, the study would suggest that more than 3 million are addicted “or at least have problems of the magnitude” that call for help, Gentile said.
“It’s not that the games are bad,” said Gentile, who is also director of research at the nonprofit National Institute on Media and the Family. “It’s not that the games are addictive. It’s that some kids use them in a way that is out of balance and harms various other areas of their lives.”
I think kids use this just the way kids watch television, the way kids now use their cellphones,” said Michael Brody, chairman of the media committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “They do it to relieve their anxiety and depression. It’s all a matter of balance.”
WEBMD/ July 3, 2006, 6:35 AM
Detox For Video Game Addiction?
Unlike with substance abuse, the biological aspect of video game addiction is uncertain. “Research suggests gambling elevates dopamine,” Young says, and gaming is in the same category. But there’s more to addiction than brain chemistry. “Even with alcohol, it’s not just physical. There’s a psychological component to the addiction, knowing ‘I can escape or feel good about my life.'”
Bakker agrees. “The person is trying to change the way they feel by taking something outside of themselves. The [cocaine] addict learns, ‘I don’t like the way I feel, I take a line of cocaine.’ For gamers, it’s the fantasy world that makes them feel better.”
“You need to document the severity of the problem,” Young says. “Don’t delay seeking professional help; if there is a problem, it will probably only get worse.”
In addition to the psychological addiction, it’s now believed that there may be a physiological element to addictive game playing. Researchers at Hammersmith Hospital in London conducted a study in 2005 which found that dopamine levels in players’ brains doubled while they were playing. Dopamine is a mood-regulating hormone associated with feelings of pleasure. The findings of this study indicate that gaming could actually be chemically addictive.
Are these some of the excuses your teen comes up with to keep playing video games instead of getting outside and doing something? Perhaps a little parental persuasion will encourage your teen to try one of these video game alternatives:
- Take the entire family outside for a walk, game or picnic
- Play “old-fashioned” board games as a family
- Join a club or sports team
- Enroll your teen in art, dance or music lessons
- Get a pet and give your teen primary responsibility for its care
- Read a good book at the library
- Take a class at the local community center
- Participate in a church youth group
- Volunteer to serve food, maintain public hiking trails, clean up the beach or some other project
- Try an adventurous outdoor activity, such as rock-climbing, whitewater rafting, fly fishing or mountain biking
The first step in deciding which video game alternative would be most appealing to your teen is to understand the underlying need. Does your teen play video games to:
- Have fun
- Meet new people
- Avoid spending time with the family
- Escape difficult emotions, memories or experiences
Often, you can lure your teen away from video games by helping them find a passion, connect with people in a deeper way and stay actively involved in life.
Of course, it isn’t always easy to get your teen to stop playing video games. They may not be motivated to change bad habits, or worse, they may have become “addicted” to video games or the Internet. In these situations, you may need help to establish healthier interests and rebuild strong interpersonal relationships.
Wilderness therapy programs and therapeutic boarding schools are some of the best options for teenagers addicted to gaming. These therapeutic programs for teens treat gaming addictions by:
- Addressing underlying emotional or behavioral issues, such as depression, anxiety or defiance, through intensive therapy
- Introducing healthy activities such as sports, art, outdoor recreation and many others
- Creating a positive peer environment to combat social isolation and build communication skills
- Improving parent-child relationships through family therapy and workshops
In reasonable amounts, video games can be a fun way to escape. But a teen who spends much of their free time in front of a computer or video game console is missing out on the countless opportunities waiting just outside the front door.
If you’re worried that your teenager has been gaining weight lately, and if you think television, video games and Internet use may be playing a role, you’re not alone.
According to a recent study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids between the ages of 8 and 18 now consume an average of seven hours and 38 minutes of media per day. If you’re doing the math, this adds up to around 53 hours — or more than two days — per week.
In this light, it’s no surprise that teen obesity is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one- third of all American kids between the ages of 12 and 19 were overweight in 2003-2006, with 17.6 percent being obese. This represents a startling threefold increase over the previous 25 years.
There are two main causes for this obesity epidemic:
- Poor eating habits
- Lack of physical activity, which may be closely tied to kids’ amount of media consumption
Teen Media Use
In addition to finding that teenagers spend upwards of eight hours a day consuming media, the study found several other interesting facts about teen media use:
- Multitasking: With media multitasking, teens actually consume nearly 11 hours of raw media content packed into those seven hours and 38 minutes. This comes from, for example, watching TV and using the Internet at the same time.
- Parental limitations: Only three out of 10 young people have parent-enforced limitations on daily TV, video game and Internet use. Kids who have media rules consume far less media per day – fewer than three hours, on average.
- Media at home: Nearly two-thirds of the kids surveyed said that the TV is typically on during meals. Around half said that the TV is on “most of the time” at home. Seven out of 10 kids have televisions in their bedrooms, and half have video game consoles in their rooms. Kids with a combination of these factors consume on average far more than peers who do not.
- Ethnicity: Hispanic and black children consume about two more hours of media than white children.
- School: As a general trend, the more media kids consume, the lower their grades. About half of the kids surveyed say they watch TV while doing their homework.
- Reading: On average, kids spend less than 30 minutes per day reading books, including school-related books.
How Much Exercise Do Teens Need?
All this media use greatly cuts into the time that kids spend exercising, which partially explains why over three times as many kids are obese now compared to 30 years ago. Adding to this problem is the unfortunate fact that many physical education programs across the country have been cut.
In fact, several studies over the past few years have found that a large percentage of teenagers barely get any exercise at all. Between school, media consumption and homework, exercise simply doesn’t get a spot in the daily routine.
But, in order to be healthy, it’s very important for kids to exercise most days, if not every day. According to U.S. government recommendations, everyone, including teenagers, needs at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. However, this is just a minimum, and 60 to 90 minutes a day is preferable, especially for individuals who are trying to lose weight. Even in top-notch physical education programs, kids rarely get this much, which is why it’s so important for parents to do what they can to encourage children of all ages to get outside and be active.
Even Without Obesity, Excessive Media Consumption Is Unhealthy
All of that being said, there are other factors besides weight to take into consideration. After all, teenagers usually have fairly robust metabolisms, and it tends to take a lot for them to become obese. It’s not unheard of for a young person to barely exercise and eat heartily without being overweight.
Even when a child is not overweight, lack of exercise and excessive media consumption can be unhealthy. For one thing, the inactive child misses out on all the health benefits of regular exercise. Exercise helps kids sleep better, which makes it easier for them to concentrate on school and homework. It also gives them energy, elevates their mood and gets them into patterns of health that will be essential during adulthood.
It’s also been found that excessive media consumption can lead to mental problems in children. It can interfere with their ability to concentrate on tasks even when no media is on, and it can correlate with depression, anxiety and social problems.
What Can Parents Do?
On average, the healthiest children are those who use Internet, television and video games for less than two hours per day. This may be unheard of in this day and age, but it’s important to remember that, in past generations, young people had no trouble entertaining themselves without these things. If you want your child to work toward this goal, here is what needs to be emphasized:
- Outdoor activity: Every minute that your child spends outside is a minute away from unhealthy media consumption. Encourage your child to play sports, have outdoor hobbies, and enjoy the neighborhood and local parks.
- Focused study time: For your child’s health and school performance, it’s important to set a time during which he or she will focus on nothing but homework.
- Books: Reading is a wholesome and healthy alternative to media consumption. And unlike television and the Internet, books actually enhance a child’s concentration and cognitive abilities.
- Quality family time: To help break the media habit, turn the television off during dinner times, and place a high value on having a quiet, non-media-dependent household.
Risk of Internet Addiction Higher in Teens with ADHD and Depression
By Leslie Davis
Between school, work, home and cell phones, it is hard to escape the Internet. As society becomes more reliant on the World Wide Web, the risk of Internet addiction increases. For one segment of the population, that is especially true.
Children and teens who are diagnosed with one of several emotional and behavioral disorders are more likely than their peers to become addicted to the Internet, according to a recent study in theArchives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine:
- Boys diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or hostility are more likely to become addicted to the Internet.
- Girls diagnosed with depression or social phobia are more likely to develop an addiction to the Internet.
For children and teens with ADHD, the constant stimulation offered by the Internet (including social networking sites that are constantly updated and fast-paced video games) offers the perfect outlet. For those with depression, social phobia or hostility, the Internet has a therapeutic effect, permitting them to create their own online identity without having to function “normally” in the real world.
“If you have a child that is hyperactive, the Internet can move at their pace,” Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California, said in an Oct. 6HealthDay News article. “If you have a child that is depressed or has social phobia, they can get in touch with other kids dealing with the same kinds of issues. They can go into artificial worlds, like ‘Second Life,’ where they can live out fantasies or take on different personas. For kids who have anger or hostility, the Internet gives them a chance to play out their aggression there.”
Internet Addiction and ADHD
Researchers from the study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine determined that teens with significant ADHD symptoms are at high risk for becoming addicted to the Internet. The researchers say this is because of several factors:
- Children and teens with ADHD are easily bored and have an aversion to delayed reward.
- Internet behavior is characterized by rapid response, immediate reward and multiple windows with different activities, reducing feelings of boredom or delayed aversion.
- While playing online games, striatal dopamine is released, possibly compensating for the dopamine deficit in teens with ADHD.
- Children with ADHD have abnormal brain activities associated with impaired inhibition. This lack of self-control may make it difficult for them to control their Internet use, making them vulnerable to Internet addiction.
Internet Addiction and Hostility
The study indicated that male teens with significant hostility were more likely to become addicted to the Internet than those teens not characterized as hostile. For teens considered hostile, the Internet allows them to express their hostility and engage in violence through such activities as online gaming.
Because they are able to get out their aggression via the Internet, hostile teens may be more prone to spending more time online than in the real world.
Internet Addiction and Depression
Females with depression were found to have a higher risk of Internet addiction. The study’s researchers determined that this was likely because the Internet can be used to alleviate depression through social support, achievement, the pleasure of control and a virtual world in which to escape from emotional difficulties.
However, too much Internet use can worsen the symptoms of depression and make depressed teens particularly vulnerable to developing an Internet addiction.
Internet Addiction and Social Phobia
As with depression, females with social phobia are more likely to become addicted to the Internet. Researchers believe this is because the Internet can provide social support in a non-face-to-face setting, allowing teens with social phobia to feel more relaxed and engaged.
The researchers warned, however, that becoming too reliant on the Internet for social support could result in an online addiction.
What Constitutes Internet Addiction?
If your child or teen is excessively using the Internet to the detriment of grades, family relationships and emotional health, an Internet addiction may be to blame. No set definition of Internet addiction exists, but the diagnosis is being considered for inclusion in the 2012 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Any of the following may indicate an Internet addiction:
- A preoccupation with the Internet
- Excessive time and effort spent online
- Falling asleep in school, not keeping up with assignments and worsening grades
- Lying about computer or Internet use
- Choosing to use the Internet rather than see friends
- No longer engaging in social activities
- An inability to cut back on usage
- Symptoms of withdrawal (such as irritability, anxiety and boredom) when not online
- An impairment of decision-making ability
Physical symptoms of an Internet addiction can include headaches, dry eyes, weight loss, neglected personal hygiene and sleep disturbances.
Treatment for Internet Addiction, Underlying Disorders
Previous reports found that anywhere between 1.4 percent and 18 percent of children and teens are addicted to the Internet. Among those teens, a large percentage likely suffers from ADHD, depression, social phobia or hostility.
If you have determined that your child or teen is addicted to the Internet, it is important to get help immediately. Doing so can also help you identify any disorders that are underlying your teen’s addiction, such as ADHD or depression. If necessary, an adolescent residential treatment center can help teens overcome both their addiction and any underlying disorder.
Don’t let the Internet take over your teen’s life. If you are worried that your teen has an Internet addiction, or undiagnosed ADHD, depression, social phobia or hostility, seek treatment today.
Video games and computer games are heavily marketed toward teens and young adults, but recent studies show the average video game addict is 35 years old. The research also shows that compulsive gamers are fatter and more depressed than the general population.
The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Andrews University, analyzed data from more than 500 adults ranging in age from 19 to 90 in the Seattle-Tacoma area. The researchers found significant correlations between playing video and computer games and a variety of health risks:
- Female gamers reported greater depression and lower health status than non-players.
- Male gamers reported higher body mass index and more Internet usage than non-players.
- Both male and female gamers demonstrated greater reliance on the Internet for social support.
Like teen video game addicts, adult gamers were more likely to be socially withdrawn, sacrificing real-life social activities to play video games, and were more likely to lead a sedentary lifestyle and be overweight.
Teen Gamers vs. Adult Gamers
According to a 2007 Pew Internet & American Life Project Survey, more than half (53 percent) of American adults play video games, and about one in five adults (21%) play every day or almost every day. Adolescents and young adults tend to dominate the gaming scene, but adults tend to be more avid players, playing more frequently and thus sometimes falling prey to video game addiction.
These findings were echoed in a 2008 consumer survey from Entertainment Software Association, which found that 75 percent of video game players are over the age of 18, and the average game player is 35 years old.
Although adults tend to have more social and professional responsibilities than teens, roughly one-third of adult gamers still find time to spend 10 hours or more playing video games every week compared to 11 percent of teens, according to a report by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
The statistics show that adults are less likely than teens to play online games or on video game consoles, preferring instead to play on the computer, and are less attracted to massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs) like World of Warcraft than teens.
Men aren’t the only ones getting hooked on video games. The CEA survey found female gamers outnumber male gamers in the 25-34 age category.
Symptoms of Video Game Addiction in Adults
Although most of us picture a teenage boy at the helm of the video game console, the research shows that many adults enjoy playing video games just as much as teens. As a result, some adults will find themselves addicted to gaming.
Here are a few warning signs of video game addiction in adults:
- Obsession or preoccupation with computer games or playing video games
- Neglecting personal relationships to spend more time playing video games
- Difficulty keeping up with personal or professional responsibilities due to increased play time (e.g., calling in sick to play your favorite game)
- Lying to cover up your computer or video game use (e.g., playing late at night, spending less time with a spouse or loved one to play games)
- Feeling angry, irritable or depressed when not playing video games
- Losing interest in other leisure activities you once enjoyed, choosing to spend all of your free time playing computer games
- Becoming so enthralled in the game that you forget to eat, sleep or bathe
- Physical ailments such as backaches, dry eyes, headaches or carpal tunnel from playing video games
Treating Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction affects teens and adults all over the world, and though the U.S. has been slower than countries like China, South Korea and the Netherlands to develop gaming addiction treatment programs, effective interventions are now available all over the country.
For adolescents and young adults, wilderness therapy programsand residential treatment centers tend to be the most effective at pulling youth away from the computer or video game console and helping them reconnect with friends, family and healthy pastimes.
Adults suffering from video game addiction often benefit from 12-Step addiction treatment programs and centers designed to treat a wide range of compulsive behaviors.
Adults have a lot to lose when video games begin to consume their lives. Getting help will ensure that you not only come back to reality but that you create a reality that you’re happy to be in.