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Hidden Addictions: Technology & Families

How can families navigate the challenges of the digital age?

As Oxford Treatment Center’s 2018 Community Workshop Series continues, digital-age intimacy and relationships expert Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, will lead a talk on the evolving digital world and its effect on families.

Hidden Addictions: Healthy Use of Technology for Families will take place Thursday, May 17, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Oxford Outpatient Center, off Highway 7 South at 611 Commerce Parkway. The event is free and open to the public, with refreshments provided.

Topics will include: digital boundaries, cyberbullying, tech stressors, online gaming, gambling and sexuality.

Brian Whisenant

Brian Whisenant, Community Relations Representative for Oxford Treatment Center, said technology addiction and its related issues are a concern of many in the community.

“The plans for the event were informed by conversations with people in the community, including local clergy and educators,” Whisenant said.

“In addition to the addictions we treat — for drugs and alcohol — people are also concerned about addictions related to technology, such as online dating services, gaming and pornography.

“Tech-related addictions have caused hidden problems in the community that people are ready to talk about and better understand. We are excited about this opportunity to bring in expert guidance in the digital era, and to provide the community free access to this event.”

Also on May 17-18, the center is offering a separate digital-themed continuing education conference for regional mental health professionals, led by Weiss. As part of the professional conference, Joshua Magruder, Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC, of the University of Mississippi’s Department of Leadership and Counselor Education, will present on ethical considerations for counselors in the digital age.

Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S

Weiss, an internationally acknowledged clinician, is the CEO of Seeking Integrity. He frequently appears on media outlets including CNN, HLN, MSNBC, The Oprah Winfrey Network, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and NPR.

The Hidden Addictions event will discuss current research and trends in the digital world and how families and individuals can better navigate their relationship with technology.

“Many are beginning to see real impacts on their lives and have questions about how to maintain healthy relationships with technology in their own lives, or their loved ones’ lives,” said Whisenant. “Technology is everywhere in our lives. It affects family life, relationships at school and in the workplace. However, there is not a perfect guidebook on how to deal with it in a healthy way.”

At Oxford High School, Nurse Meg Hayden, RN, said that young people are especially at risk for developing addictions related to technology because the executive functions of the brain are still developing.

“Generally speaking, teens aren’t able to appreciate how these kinds of things can affect them and others later in life,” said Hayden said.

“If they fall across the wrong material, it can be very damaging. You can’t un-see that material. We know that addictions formed in adolescence are very real. It’s a scary thing to raise a child in the world today, and families appreciate guidance that’s practical and research-based.”

Learn more about Robert Weiss