Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

 

Q. What services does Internet Behavior Consulting (IBC) provide?

A. IBC provides a multitude of professional and clinical services related to problematic online behavior. IBC serves both professionals and individuals who need assistance in evaluating or stopping their problematic use of the Internet. Consultation services assists individuals in deciding if they should seek further help from a qualified professional, and assist professionals with cases and questions related to online behavior. IBC also publishes a number of books and resource guides for individuals and professionals. Trainings are offered in a number of settings, including educational, religious, legal and forensics, and family. For specific services or questions, feel free to contact IBC.

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Q. How can using the Internet become problematic?

A. The reality is, any behavior can become problematic if it begins to interfere with social, occupational, or other important life areas. The Internet can cause significant consequences for individuals to the point that they feel out of control with their Internet use. This is how we begin to tell if the Internet has become problematic.

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Q. Is problematic online behavior illegal?

A. Although this is an important question to ask, a behavior does not need to be illegal to become problematic. Consider individuals who begin using alcohol excessively, or who abuse their prescription medications. Although their behaviors are legal, they also can become problematic. The same is true for the Internet. An individual's behaviors may or may not be illegal, but may still be problematic.

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Q. What are some examples of problematic online behaviors?

A. Online gaming, online chatting, online gambling, online shopping, online auctions, and online sexual behavior are all examples of behavior that can turn problematic when used excessively and to the detriment of the individual or their friends and family.

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Q. How many individuals are affected by problematic online behavior?

A. While it is difficult to determine exactly how many people are affected by problematic online behavior, it has been estimated that between 3 - 6% of the people using the Internet have developed problems with their online use. It has been estimated that nearly 20% of online users are at-risk of developing online problems.

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Q. Does everyone who uses the Internet develop problematic online behaviors?

A. No. In fact, research has shown that the majority of online users do not experience any significant problems related to their behavior. However, this does not negate those who struggle with problematic online behaviors.

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Q. What are the signs that someone has a problem?

A. There is no single sign that indicates someone has a problem with their online use; it is often a combination of many factors over an extended period of time. It is not only "what" people do online, but also the effect it has on their lives and those around them. Common signs include: spending more and more time engaged in online behaviors, feeling unable to control their online use, continuing the online behavior even when there are significant risks and consequences.

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Q. What are the unique features of the Internet that make it so powerful?

The Internet has some unique features that make it powerfully attractive and difficult to resist. We have called this the Cyberhex. The features of the Cyberhex are: interactive, inexpensive, imposing, integral, isolating, intoxicating.

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Q. What can someone do if they think they have a problem with their online behavior?

A. The first step is to contact a professional who is familiar with all forms of compulsive behavior, such as Internet Behavior Consulting. The Internet can also be a resource for those who think they have problems with their online use. There are a number of useful sites available (e.g., netaddiction, NCSAC, etc.) that have resources and contact information for professionals across the country. After entering into counseling, the professional will help determine if your behavior warrants further treatment. Using books (e.g., In the Shadows of the Net, Cybersex Unhooked, etc.), individuals can begin a process of rebuilding their lives that had been lost to the Internet.

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Q. What about problematic online sexual behavior?

A. Please click here for specific information that addresses this question. (NOTE: You will need Adobe Acrobat to read this pdf file.)

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