Our Minds on the Internet

RU SSW Psychopathology

Our Minds on the Internet
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Some of us use the Internet to escape from our daily lives: the tedium of work or schooling. And in this escape, we may feel completely disinhibited, that is, we may write or in some other way communicate to cause harm to others and to ourselves.

Instead of viewing the Internet as a potential source of addiction (i.e., a brain disorder) we see it like we see all feeling, thinking, and action that is difficult to regulate. When we’re disinhibited, we often adopt different identities or persona and communicate in the cyber world with a different sense of self. Sometime this can produce positive effects. At other times this can lead to troubling compulsions and interactions, on and offline. In working with clients, it is our purpose to understand how they use the Internet, when and how they become disinhibited.

Sometimes the Internet can have the opposite effect. We can become inhibited, especially when we find online interactions easier than relating in our offline worlds. At these times we use the Internet to avoid face-to-face relationships along with all of the expectations and responsibilities that come with them. At our most disinhibited moments, we may take great risks with unfamiliar and sometimes dangerous others or expose ourselves without fully appreciating the present dangers or longterm consequences. At these times we may jeopardize our most intimate connections: our families, spouses and partners, siblings, and friends. And there is no doubt that the Internet has produced an altogether new kind of family dynamic.
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