Internet addiction (IA) is one of the leading contemporary issues affecting teenagers in modern settings despite heightened assessment, screening, and testing to solve it. The Internet is continuously evolving to enhance life, and it is gradually becoming an aspect of human progress. However, teenagers suffer the adverse effects of spending substantial time on the Internet. Accordingly, IA is a significant concern due to its negative impact on the youth. For instance, teenagers addicted to the Internet demonstrate irritation and negligence of duties. As a result, most of the victims experience depression, low self-esteem, and emotional instability. This paper evaluates Internet addiction as an issue affecting teenagers today and assesses the causes, assessment tools, and support options.
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Foremost, external stressors driven by societal triggers contribute to teenager IA. Peer pressure is one factor, which pushes teens to Internet dependence by influencing an individual’s body image perception. Friends pursue their peers to spend most of their time online admiring their role models who motivate them to focus on physical appearance. Besides, family issues also drive them to social media as an escape route. Teens in families which experience constant conflicts tend to suffer from IA disorders (Schneider et al., 2017). Exposure to school demands exacerbates their situation concerning Internet use. Thus, stressful academic and social needs compel young people to depend on the Internet for relief.
To combat the issue, physicians use evidence-based assessment strategies to screen external stressors for IA in adolescent patients. Leading examination models include the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) developed to evaluate Internet compulsion’s presence and degree (Poli, 2017). IAT consists of 20 items extracted from research and clinical studies, which identify possible addiction indicators. The Internet addiction scale (IAS) is a framework employed to assess compulsion aspects, such as obsession, withdrawal, tolerance deception, general impairment, and distraction (Poli, 2017). An additional question to include in the assessment tools is whether financial needs compel teens to spend most of their time on the Internet. Parents or guardians have the right to know about the money spent by their children, but it would be unethical to ask to explain what the teenagers do with the money provided. Availability of research-based assessment tools helps to assess IA stressors.
Therefore, support options concentrate on behavior change in adolescent patients with IA. According to Young (2019), The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) does not include the problem in its classification. Hence, social interventions include those used to treat similar conditions, such as gambling addiction. Therapy is a recommendable option to help adolescent patients with Internet compulsion. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a specific support tool, which clinicians can use to help victims adjust their Internet usage. Mihajlov and Vejmelka (2017) suggest that a participant can engage in timed therapy sessions concentrating on the interactive traits. Attending CBT meetings is an effective therapeutic approach to help patients confront mental predispositions which cause the problematic behavior.
In conclusion, IA is one of the leading issues experienced by teenagers today. Most victims demonstrate problematic behaviors, such as irritation, negligence, and subsequent depression or stress. Notably, IA is attributed to body image, family, and academic demand issues in teens. Hence, clinicians use IAT and IAS to screen and recognize the victims exposed to IA. Accordingly, timed CBT is a useful support tool, which can help adolescent patients modify their behavior and overcome addiction. Although IA remains a concern, appropriate interventions can help youths challenge it and adjust to normal behavior.
Mihajlov, M., & Vejmelka, L. (2017). Internet addiction: A review of the first twenty years. Psychiatria Danubina, 29(3), 260-272. Web.
Poli, R. (2017). Internet addiction update: Diagnostic criteria, assessment and prevalence. Neuropsychiatry, 7(1), 4-8. Web.
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Schneider, L. A., King, D. L., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2017). Family factors in adolescent problematic Internet gaming: A systematic review. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6(3), 321–333. Web.
Young, K. (2019). Internet addiction. Good Therapy. Web.