Resources for Internet Sanity
1. DOCUMENTARY FILM
Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age (one hour)
“Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that with her own kids and learned that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time—friction she knew all too well.
In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.”(image a below and description above from film website)
Watch the film trailer—click HERE
More resources. The film’s website also includes a Resource section with areas on screen time contracts, pro-social video games, digital citizenship, afterschool activities, parenting apps, etc. There is also a section with media interviews and coverage as well as information on requesting to show the film in community settings.
Note: We have only seen the trailer and some of the information/resources on the film’s website. Although focusing on the USA context, we believe the film would be relevant in other international settings. We are also very grateful for Dr. Ruston’s previous feature film, Hidden Pictures: A Personal Journey into Global Mental Health.
Forms of Internet and Technology Addiction (verywell website)
“Internet addiction is a behavioral addiction in which a person becomes dependent on use of the Internet, or other online devices, as a maladaptive way of coping with life's stresses….”
“Top Five things to Know about Internet Addiction
--1. Internet addiction is not yet an officially recognized mental disorder. Researchers have formulated diagnostic criteria for Internet addiction, but it is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, Internet gaming disorder is included as a condition for further study, and Internet addiction is developing as a specialist area.
--2. At least three subtypes of Internet addiction have been identified: video game addiction, cybersex or online sex addiction, and online gambling addiction.
--3. Increasingly, addiction to mobile devices, such as cellphones and smartphones, and addiction to social networking sites, such as Facebook, are being investigated. There may be overlaps between each of these sub-types. For example, online gambling involves online games, and online games may have elements of pornography.
--4. Sexting, or sending sexually explicit texts, have landed many people in trouble. Some have been teens, who have found themselves in hot water with child pornography charges if they are underage.
--5. Treatment for Internet addiction is available, but only a few specialized Internet addiction services exist. However, a psychologist with knowledge of addiction treatment will probably be able to help.” (image above below and quote from verywell website, article by Elizabeth Hartney, update 20 July 2016)
See verywell’s resources on many addiction topics—click HERE.
Note: We have only recently come across this website, and are appreciative of the information on a diversity of health topics. See also Pornography and Addictions, Member Care Update, March 2010)
3. DOCUMENTARY FILM
Troll Hunters (55 minutes)
“…Em Ford was a victim of online abuse and fought back. Now she targets the alarming rise of online abuse in Britain by trying to track down the trolls responsible…She is on a mission to put a face to these anonymous bullies and to confront them with their victims…The film investigates online anonymity and proves that it is possible to track down a troll. It shines a light on the real-world impact of online bullying and encourages cyber-victims to put a stop to the hatred levelled at them by standing up to their trolls.”
“Trolling is a phenomenon that has swept across the web in recent years. On a daily basis, an audience of millions sits back and witnesses the ultimate humiliation of civilians and celebrities alike on social networking sites. Opponents say it is the internet equivalent of assault, while supporters argue it is about humour, mischief and freedom of speech. In any case, trolling has escalated to levels so severe that some victims are succumbing to anxiety, depression and, in the very worst cases, suicide.”(image below and description above from BBC3 webiste)
Note: See also the 29 August 2016 cover article in Time magazine, Tyranny of the Mob (“Why we’re losing the Internet to the culture of hate”) by Joel Stein. “Trolls are turning the web into a cesspool of aggression and violence….and its seeping from our smart phones into every aspect of our lives.” (p. 27)
The Internet as a Tool
We see the internet and tech as great tools that can be used positively or negatively, for human enhancement or for human exploitation. In general it is not the internet per se that is the problem, for example, but human nature. We have to protect ourselves from a lot of things in this world, and we teach our children to do the same: look both ways before you cross the street is a classic example. The internet is one of those things: look both ways before you cross into the internet highway...and keep on looking.
Cybercrime might be relatively new in human history, but crime, theft, fraud, and extortion are not. Being addicted to screens likewise is nothing new, as those of us from the TV generations are well aware. The same goes for video violence and human violence. The internet might make the red light district much more accessible, but the red light district and the people and systems behind it have always been part of the decadent human landscape.
Use the internet wisely--and stay sane.