reSTART Life works with emerging adults whose problematic Internet use (PIU) is impairing their ability to lead healthy, productive lives.

As the first program of its kind to treat individuals with PIU, we’ve learned a great deal about digital media use since opening our doors in 2009.

One theme playing out in the lives of our clients is the familiar story of childhood bullying of those who are “different, unusual, or unacceptable” in America. Ill equipped with emotional strategies to cope with the pain of being bullied, young people report immersing themselves in video gaming, as a means of escaping the negative emotions inherent in the bullying experience.

A second and compelling theme being reported in those with PIU is the problematic use of pornography, which is readily accessible and difficult to avoid when spending copious amounts of time online. David Greenfield reports that 62% of Internet users log on to porn sites, and in our experience, problematic Internet use is significantly correlated with greater engagement with pornography.

What long term effects heavy digital media consumption will have on our children in the future is difficult to predict. Thankfully, research into digital media and Internet gaming use is on the rise worldwide and may shed light on these and other patterns of concern.