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Net addicts to get online treatment

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The founder of the Centre for On-Line Addiction, launched earlier this month, has denied that treating Internet addicts on-line is at all inappropriate. Dr Kimberly Young argues that this is, in fact, the ideal method of treatment as it is convenient and encourages clients to be more honest and less self-conscious. This may come as small comfort to the estimated half a million or more afflicted with Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) in Great Britain. Those with a real interest in the Internet must already be feeling insecure after Canadian psychologist Marc Rogers' controversial presentation entitled Profile of A Hacker at the recent RSA Data Security conference. In this, he claimed that the most visible breed of computer hacker, the "cyberpunk" is an obsessive white middle class male, possibly with a history of physical and sexual abuse. Ouch! Not surprisingly, a number of hackers have not taken too kindly to such talk. Dr Young, who is to launch her phone-in psychology radio show on-line in September - and who plans to go live with a couples counselling clinic on the Internet next January - has a less scathing view of the typical hacker. She does, however, identify problems with debt as common ground between IAD sufferers, but ironically she also charges £10 for returning an e-mail and £30 for a live consultation. ®

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