Are your students “Internet Addicted”?

You’ve heard of addiction to alcohol and drugs?  You’ve heard about food addiction.  Have your heard about “internet addiction”?

In a study conducted by the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, 1,300 people between the ages of 16 and 51 found that many of them were addicted to spending many hours scanning websites, texting, gaming sites, and online communities.  The study found that these people were more likely to be depressed. Of the sample, 1.2 percent were “internet addicted”.  Because of the amount of time they spent on the web, their online relationship had replace real social activities in the real world, leaving them isolated and depressed.

Many of us know children (and adults) who have become so dependent on cell phones, mp3 players, and the Internet that they forget to eat, play or sleep.

The real questions are what are the implications for schools?  For school counselors?

My other concerns are which comes first:  Do depressed people turn to the Internet?  Or does the Internet cause people to become depressed?

One other thing to consider and question:  With the growing number of virtual schools, will this (does this)  result in depressed and lonely people and what do we do about that?