The Today Show Focuses on Another NATSAP Program Member!

Secret life of teens: Internet addiction changes boy into ‘shell of a son’.

For Andrew Fulton, who is now 19, the problem began in high school. Outwardly, he was a typical “good” kid: an honors student and a talented musician. But he was spending more and more time online at home, surfing the web and playing video games up to six hours a day as a way to escape his stresses.

“It’s really like a therapeutic release. All that social anxiety I felt in school just went away because I could be whoever I wanted to be,” he said. “It’s kind of like a full-body buzz.”

Andrew lost 30 pounds and flunked out of college. His parents hardly recognized him when he came back home, calling him a “shell of a son.”

He spent six months at reSTART, the country’s first residential program for internet addiction. After intensive therapy, regular exercise and monitored computer use, Andrew graduated from the program this summer and is now back in college, where he hopes to start a student support group to help others.

“I know how harmful it was, and I don’t want to go back to that,” Andrew said. “It destroyed my life.”

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