Shannon’s Corner

My Conversation on Social Media

Our Internet Safety Responsibility

The opportunities for social media and the internet have grown so much and so fast that in the process, we may be overlooking some serious dangers.  


Early concerns with the internet involved violence and pornography, online chat rooms and then it extended to social media websites for both teens on MySpace and tweens on Webkinz.  Abuse has been brought to light with tragic suicides such as those of 13-year-old Ryan Patrick Halligan, 12-year-old Brandon Myers and 13-year-old Megan Meier.  All were victims of online bullying. 


Further concerns for many parents involve their children and MMORPG addictions.  It often begins with a few hours after school and missing dinner but can lead to more serious problems of failing grades and dropping out of school. 


In a recent May issue of U.S. News & World Report, Jennifer Seter Wagner wrote about the growing occurrence of on-line gaming addictions.  The Entertainment Software Association reports that “software sales jumped 28% last year to $9.5 billion … 9 games were sold every second of the year and 92% of children under the age of 18 play regularly.” While the growth of the internet connects children and adults alike to vast amounts of information never before available, these statistics also hint at what can happen when you have most anything that develops at an extremely rapid rate and you fail to keep up – abuse, neglect or addiction. 


Currently the American Psychological Association doesn’t recognize game addiction and therefore, there are no national guidelines for therapy.  Until this is reviewed in 2012, pathological video and computer play will be viewed as a “behavioral addiction” much like compulsive shopping.


The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery gave U.S. News & World Report some warning signs such as:

         fantasizing or talking about game characters of missions when offline

         lying about hiding how much time is spent playing or disobeying parental limits

         losing interest in sports and hobbies

         continuing to play despite failing grades

Organizations such as On-line Gamers Anonymous, Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, Aspen Education Group and Smith & Jones Center have emerged to help deal with this growing problem in our society today.


The internet has been revolutionary and filled our lives with vast amounts of information and access.  There is no doubt that the internet is something that will only continue to expand but with this growth, however, we also have to accept that it is our collective responsibility to help users deal with potential abuse and harmful personal addictions.


July 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments