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Internet Technology & Video Game Overuse on the College Campus

Internet Technology & Video Game Overuse on the College Campus

January 21, 2016

For all the convenience that technology brings us, an alarming percentage of people develop bad tech habits that can have serious consequences in their lives. Research has identified that 13-18 percent of college students demonstrate signs of internet addiction and technology overuse. If these percentages translate to CU-Boulder, then in the fall of 2015, between 4,000 and 5,665 of our students struggled from the negative impacts of technology in their academic and personal lives.

The Division of Continuing Education at CU-Boulder is hosting a workshop on Feb. 5 to help student support staff learn more about this often overlooked issue and how they can help.

Tracy Markle, MA, LPC, owner and clinical director of Collegiate Coaching Services and The Digital Media Treatment & Education Center in Boulder, will be a guest speaker at the workshop. She says that internet addiction and technology overuse is a growing problem among college students.

“This problem area with young people is typically a part of every conversation we have when we meet with departments at CU,” said Markle. “More and more, this is being identified as a primary factor in student academics, mental health, and social problems on campus.”

Markle explains that technology overuse often correlates with several key behaviors that have a negative impact on student success, such as appearing isolated, missing class, showing signs of depression, lack of self-care, poor grades, sleep difficulties and substance abuse.

Kathryn Tisdale, Director of Student Services at the CU-Boulder Division of Continuing Education, says she and Markle planned this event because helping faculty and staff identify and intervene with students who overuse technology can be a powerful strategy to help students be more successful.

“Understanding who the high risk groups are is one key way that faculty and staff can prepare themselves to identify and assist students who may be experiencing problematic internet and video game use,” said Tisdale. “Students struggling with depression, anxiety, connecting with peers and groups on campus and acclimating to a new culture and environment may be especially at risk.”

Markle, who works with individuals and universities all across the country, says that even though CU-Boulder’s Collegiate Recovery Center (CRC) is the only such center in the country she is aware of that provides an anonymous, 12-step support group to students with internet addiction, it is still a difficult issue to identify and talk about.

“It is still uncommon for students to initiate conversations about their problematic use of digital media,” said Markle. “Therefore, it is particularly important that we, their advisors, professors, counselors and coaches, develop the skills to recognize the problem signs of students who are struggling with how to integrate technology into their lives and provide them with space to talk about this issue that often carries shame and guilt.”

Guest presenters

Tracy Markle, MA, LPC is the owner and clinical director of Collegiate Coaching Services and The Digital Media Treatment & Education Center. She collaborates with experts around the country to develop standards of practice and effective treatment approaches for internet and video game addiction issues. Her team at Collegiate Coaching Services provides academic and executive functioning coaching, as well as specialized therapeutic support to students who struggle with mental health issues and overuse of digital media. The Digital Media Treatment and Education Center provides outpatient treatment for teens, young adults, and families who are dealing with internet, video game, and pornography addiction issues.

Dr. Brett Kennedy, who owns and operates a private practice in Boulder, specializes in sexual addictions, including pornography addiction. He will provide information on this area as it relates to college students on the CU-Boulder campus.

– See more on Colleges Helping Students Fight Screen Addiction.