Experts warn of growth in Internet addiction

8:19 AM, Jun 25, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- If you spend hours scanning or posting on Facebook, or get upset when you cannot sign onto Twitter, researchers say you may be addicted to the Internet.

A recent study suggests that as much as 38% of the U.S. population is addicted to the Internet.  The popularity of social media is one area that is becoming a growing problem.

Experts say Internet addiction can be difficult to detect because many of us are required to be plugged for work and school.

"Online banking, homework from school, work email -- it is a required piece of everyday communication," says Michael Reiffer, clinical social worker at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.  "I think the big thing would be to put time limits and parameters around it. After 5 or 6 p.m. not checking email, or checking email once a night."

Experts say signs of addiction are difficult to detect, but if you cannot unplug for long periods of time, notice changes in your moods, or have experienced changes in your personal relationships you should talk to a mental health professional.

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