Internet Addiction During the Era of COVID-19
What is internet addiction during the era of COVID-19?
The era of COVID-19 is really seeing an increase in the number of people who are developing internet addiction. What is internet addiction? Well, obviously using the internet is not internet addiction. So many of us, are using the internet eight, 10 or 12 hours a day, just to complete our work, just to complete our jobs. Apps like Zoom have become absolutely necessary during this era. But in addition to the Zoom that we use to achieve our work, many of us are actually falling into problematic patterns of using apps that seemingly are meant to help us connect to other people. Things like Facebook, things like Instagram. In fact, what we are seeing, is people spending eight, 10, 12 hours a day on these apps. And what is actually happening? Those real connections that people have, those real connections that people have with their children, with their spouses, with their parents, are being replaced by much lesser virtual connections through social media. The same internet, which may be leading you or someone you love to problems, can actually be manifested to help you recover. Montefiore health system right now, is offering from your home, tele-video visits with your physicians, tele-psychotherapy with skilled therapist, tele-group therapy, so you can connect with people who are going through similar struggles that you are, and gain strength from them. I hope that during this era of COVID-19, you and your family are remaining strong and healthy.
How do I help my children with their gaming addiction during COVID-19?
As an addiction psychiatrist, I have been really surprised by how many people during this era of COVID-19 have reached out to me, not about their own addiction, but actually concerned that their children may develop gaming addiction or have developed gaming addiction. So first, let's define gaming addiction. Playing a lot of games is not gaming addiction. Gaming addiction develops when the child is unable to achieve the other things that a child needs to achieve because of over gaming. So a child who is completing their homework, who's completing their chores, who is having the appropriate amount of conversations with adults to sort of get that adult guidance and that adult wisdom, they not addicted to gaming. They may just actually really enjoy gaming. And in fact, we know that when boys get together and game together, they actually can experience a very rich social life. And certainly socialization, which has been taken away in so many ways during COVID-19 is essential to the healthy development of a child's mind. If your child though, has crossed over and you see that instead of growth in relationships and growth in academic achievement and growth in the ability to interact with adults, you're actually seeing the opposite of that, there is help available. I hope that you will contact Montefiore health system or another provider, knowing that through video visits with physicians, through video psychotherapy, so much can be achieved. The solutions now during COVID-19 for so many problems, are being offered in ways that are more user accessible than ever before. I hope that you, your children and your entire families will emerge from this COVID-19 pandemic stronger and healthier together.