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Students and the Internet Part 2: Signs and Recovery

Last week we discussed the issue of internet addiction. It is a real disorder that psychologists now recognize – and college students are especially susceptible to it. Today we will cover two related issues: signs of the problem, and how to get help.

In the technologically-based age we live in, this may seem exaggerated or extraneous. But more and more high achieving college students are finding themselves in dire academic situations due to internet time and fragmented concentration and work. Next week we’ll discuss the internet from the perspective of admission counselors. For today – back to the signs and ways to recovery.

Main Signs of Internet Addiction Disorder

  1. You remember more about the latest news on Yahoo! or Google than your list of economic terms or Spanish words.
  2. You have corresponded with professors, but only through e-mail and have not used office hours to meet them.
  3. You know the latest posts on facebook, but haven’t seen those people for a day or two.
  4. You have linked your bank account to online gaming, auctions, or gambling sites and it affects your financial balance.
  5. If a feeling of loneliness or homesickness hits, your first reaction is to go online.

Those are not, in themselves, extreme behaviors. But try taking away the internet for 24 -48 hours. How much work do you complete before trying to click open a window and check different websites? How does your mood change? Do you feel compelled to know what is going on online? Those compulsive behaviors end up chipping away at real-time – time that can be used studying, reading, hanging out with roommates and real friends. The consequences creep up… a missed extracurricular, a hard time concentrating without “checking in,” crammed studying, missing a friend’s reaction to a break-up or acceptance into a program. The impact, as we’ve seen, is real.

Finding Help

As in any addiction, the first step is acknowledging the situation and being self-aware. And then, once someone has decided for him or herself that it is a real problem, the best step is to check with a counselor, friend, or parent. Searching online and Googling the question would, obviously, increase the issue. While some countries have formally recognized Internet Addiction Disorder, the USA is still in nascent stages of doing so. However, a few private companies have cropped up to help those with the disorder. One program in the D.C. area, reSTART, involves the entire family throughout the process, and also has programs tailored to 12-17 year-olds.

The problem of internet addiction is a relatively new phenomenon, but it is affecting youth and students most of all. Knowing that it IAD is real and that the consequences can affect school and academic thinking is crucial for those embarking on higher intellectual pursuits. Next week, we’ll talk about college admissions counselors’ views of the internet, and what students who are applying to schools should know.


This article is titled, “Students and the Internet Part 2: Signs and Recovery.” It was written by Marta Casey, a writer at Top Test Prep’s team.

To learn more about Top Test Prep’s programs, call (800) 501-Prep.

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