Internet Addiction

Technology abuse is rapidly becoming a widespread issue. The guide to psychiatric disorders, the DSM-5, has new classifications, Compulsive Internet Use and Problematic Internet Use, due to the explosion of the technology abuse problem.

Do you think a family member or friend is addicted to using electronic devices, adult websites, gaming and social media? In dramatically-increasing numbers, partners are seeking therapeutic support in dealing with online infidelity, inappropriate messages and photos, websites devoted to cheating, reconnecting with old lovers on social media, online pornography, and technology addiction. All of these were unheard of just a few decades ago and now are major factors in relationships and family dynamics.

Communication between couples and families often becomes impaired by excessive social media use. The addiction-like behavior can be a serious problem for relationships. Clients have expressed that they would prefer face-to-face conversations, but often have to rely or “settle” on video calls, e-mail and texting as forms of communication. Unfortunately, it has become socially acceptable for day-to-day interactions to be reliant on technology. As a result, abuse of technology is a recurring theme in the majority of couples’ therapy sessions and presents a serious problem for marriages and families if not addressed.

Technology, messaging, and social media have become commonly mentioned topics in counseling as reasons that relationships, marriages and families have become dysfunctional. Couples complain that partners are cheating on websites devoted to that purpose. They also mention social media sites as platforms for online relationships or connecting with former romantic partners. The public nature of these sites, despite their claims of privacy, often leads to clients finding out about their partner’s infidelity. Many clients also complain of partners monitoring their devices, which can lead to distrust and anger.

Technology abuse also affects children, resulting in social anxiety, school avoidance and interpersonal social problems. Family therapy can address this. Depression sometimes is diagnosed in school age children as a result of online bullying or gossip. Naturally this is a source of stress and anxiety for their parents.

Websites that encourage infidelity are numerous and many offer links to sexual partners for a monthly fee. Many counseling clients report that potential partners on widely used dating sites are merely seeking sex rather than actual relationships. These are some reasons therapy clients have severe trust issues regarding online encounters and worry that cyber relationships will ruin their real life partnerships. Couples therapy will greatly help this issue.

ANOTHER SERIOUS CONCERN FOR COUPLES IS SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION RESULTING FROM EXCESSIVE ONLINE PORNOGRAPHY USE.

RESEARCH INDICATES THERE ARE PHYSICAL SIDE EFFECTS FROM THIS TECH ADDICTION THAT CAN MAKE ERECTIONS AND ORGASMS DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE WITHOUT THE AID OF PORNOGRAPHY.

Cyber pornography has sales of over $2.8 billion yearly and there are over 20 million such sites as well as 40 million regular users (per BusinessInsider.com.)

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