New treatment center helps shed misconceptions about Internet addiction

People sit around laptop computers at a cafe.

The nation's first inpatient treatment program for Internet addiction opened this month in Bradford, Pennsylvania. It's a ten-day program that involves a thorough search for internet connected devices, a three-day quarantine, and hopefully a cure. There are more and more documented cases of Internet addiction in the United States, affecting everyone from gamers to online gamblers. 

Dr. Kimberly Young, director of the treatment program at the Bradford Regional Medical Center, says Internet addiction has taken on a variety of forms throughout the years. In the early 1990s, those addicted to the Internet often found their problems stemmed from too much time spent in online chat rooms and on porn sites. By the late 90s, day trading became a popular source, and as we approached the 2000s, eBay and social media became more popular as places where people got addicted online. 

Young says there's still a misconception that Internet addiction is not as serious as other afflictions, like drug and alcohol addiction. But that's a dangerous mentality she says. 

"We don't know a lot about [the Internet's] long term impact and effects and if you start too young or if you do it too much, what that's going to mean," she says.

Dr. Kimberly Young, director of the treatment program at the Bradford Regional Medical Center, joins Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson to discuss. Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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