Scoring well on quizzes and exams is one of the biggest anxieties my college-age clients face. Students know they're supposed to study, but sometimes, even after putting their head in the books for hour after hour, grades remain low. The truth is that studying as we commonly understand it is a poor way to prepare for exams.
Of all the social challenges we face as males, approaching available women has to be one of the most confusing. It's completely understandable that guys want to know the answer to "what do I say to her?"
When a new client comes to me, often they are unsure if they have a problem or how bad the problem is. In session, I ask targeted questions to quickly spotlight where their online use is shameful, damaging or hurtful.
Even before coming to therapy, there are ways to measure online addiction and the damage it causes. The IAT (Internet Addiction Test) was created by Dr. Kimberly Young and consists of twenty simple questions about online usage. After taking the test, you can score yourself and get feedback on how serious your Internet addiction might be.
What I like about tests of this kind is they can be done in private, without fear of anyone finding out. Therapy is also confidential, though it requires trusting at least one other person with your secrets. However the IAT was created in 1995 and it doesn't necessarily reflect how our online culture has changed over the last 20 years. And while the IAT does a great job of addressing common, general problems, it can't speak to individual differences or specific situations.
If you'd like to take the IAT for yourself, it can be found at The Center for Internet Addiction. http://netaddiction.com/internet-addiction-test/
I specialize in the assessment and treatment of Online and Internet addiction, including porn addiction. If you would like to speak to me about possible Internet Addiction, Please call me at 404-530-9057 and I would be happy to consult with you.
Gordon Shippey, MA, LPC
Smartphones have created a collective unease. Look at a street scene and observe how many people are heads-down on their phones. Some of them are walking while staring into their tiny screens. Too many are texting while driving. We check our phones in bed, at the dinner table, and in the middle of conversations with real, live people. What does all this smartphone use mean? Are we addicted to technology? Is it shaping our minds and making us into new and different people, tap by tap?
According to this BBC article, technology is "Eroding Human Memory". Now that we depend on our smartphones to hold our address books, we no longer need to physically punch out phone numbers to call someone. As a consequence, people can't recall their friends or partner's phone numbers unassisted. Some can't even remember their own number. Perhaps our memory itself is eroding? Are we less able to remember anything now that our phones are remembering almost everything? The jury is still out on this question.
If you're worried about what your smartphone is doing to your memory, or perhaps some other aspect of your mental health, the first thing I would recommend is to focus your attention on exactly how you use your smartphone. Where and how do you use it instead of your memory. Is it helping or hurting you to use it this way?
Going phone-free for a day, a weekend or an entire vacation can yield valuable insights on how mobile technology has altered your cognition. See where you get stuck without your phone. What do you do when you're waiting or when you're bored and there's no phone around. Are their cravings? How strong are they? Does it feel like an addiction when you're separated from the Internet?
If your inquiry into what smartphone use has done to your memory or your mind in general has brought up more questions than answers, consulting with an expert could be a smart decision. I specialize in helping people with online and Internet addiction as well as other problems brought on by our always-on technological world.
Please feel free to reach out to me for a complimentary consultation about your specific concerns.
Gordon Shippey, MA, LPC
In this guest post, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Amanda Bowers Carver pinpoints where many of us go wrong with our phones and shares some no-nonsense steps to get off the phone and back into life.
We all know it’s true, that nagging voice inside is noticing more and more: We’ve become addicted to our smart phones. First thing in the morning (even before coffee!), last thing before turning out our bedside light, waiting at traffic lights or for tables at restaurants, and even during lulls in conversation with our friends and family, we light up our phones and check Facebook, Instagram, texts, email, news and other apps. For some it goes so far as answering calls during sex, or texting while driving – a fatal hazard We hardly have time to enjoy a beautiful moment before we’re posing and taking pictures of it to post on our media pages. Our experiences are being hijacked by the cataloging of them, and all to supposedly help us feel more connected, maybe even more alive ... but is it working?
Now that social media and the smart phones that put it constantly at our fingertips have been standard items for many years, the research is rolling in on how much better off we really are from these powerful inventions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it doesn’t look good. According to a study at the University of Derby, the average smart phone user spends 3.6 hours on their device a day, with 13% of research participants showing full addiction behaviors. And it’s coming with a toll of less connectedness and increased depression
I’m all for smart phones and social media! I love that I get to know the little goings on in my friends’ and family’s lives, and even “watch” their children grow up despite the sometimes thousands of miles between us. I love that I can quickly search for the nearest taco stand from anywhere that I am. I love that I can follow up on email or pay bills while waiting at the doctor’s office.
But what is the price for these conveniences? And what can one do about balancing the scale between help and harm? Borrowing from the ever-wise world of mindfulness, you may find that disconnecting from your phone for even brief periods of time brings great riches to the present moment you are actually living.
Instead of reaching for your phone first thing in the morning, try:
Instead of reaching for your phone last thing at night, try:
Instead of reaching for your phone at a traffic light or while waiting in line, try:
Instead of reaching for your phone while on your lunch break or eating meals alone, try:
Instead of reaching for your phone while with people, try:
If possible, push yourself to carve out moments of your day or week where you turn your phone off or at least leave it on vibrate in the other room. Delete apps that you notice are sucking up too much of your time. (I personally did this with much success in terms of improved productivity and time for, gasp, reading actual books!)
Remember, our phones may be really good at lighting up areas of our brain that our brain then interprets as a reward. They may be really good at distracting us from our boredom or anxiety. They may be really good at directions home. But they can’t replace the people in our lives. And they certainly can’t live our lives for us. A perfectly posed picture can’t replace the experience of taking in a gorgeous mountain sunset or your dog greeting you with his merrily wagging his tail. And a perfectly choreographed video can’t replace the actual experience of your first wedding dance, new husband or wife warm in your arms.
When we’re plugged into our phones, we miss out on so much. We miss out on our beautifully unscripted and uncatalogued lives. These spontaneous moments are the treasures we all look back on with love and joy. Nothing could be more important.
Amanda Bowers Carver is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Atlanta, GA who offers guidance in the pursuit of improved vitality, connection with others, and creating a more meaningful life. Her specialties include helping couples and individuals with problems related to mood instability, relationship troubles, and struggles finding fulfillment in life, with a special passion for helping both gay and straight couples create and enjoy lasting love and affection in their relationships. Connect with Amanda on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog Earth Meets Sky, with Pie for more ideas about how to generate a wise and vital life. For information about working with Amanda as a therapist, please visit her website, Therapy With Amanda.
Long-term romantic relationships were never easy, but Internet pornography is now becoming a problem for all too many couples. The key to defeating online smut is to understand and counter its allure.
A mystery for parents: how can a child who can play video games for hours without so much as a bathroom break be unable to focus on homework for 15 minutes? The easy answer is that video games are “cool” and entertaining and homework is anything but. However research tells us something deeper.
One of the most common goals clients express is the desire to be free from disturbing emotions. In my experience, coping strategies can be divided into three major categories, and which of the three leads to lasting relief.