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SOMOSA-Medialab – 3 years of experience in severe pathological Internet use
08 August 2017 (online)
In the last two decades, the impact of digital and interactive technologies (DIT) on personal and professional life has increased exponentially. Today, the vast majority of the population in industrialized countries uses DIT on a daily basis as their main source of information and as a crucial platform for social exchange. In the near future, body-attached devices will constantly provide the user with data of the world around and within him. Innovative DIT seems to offer endless possibilities. However, DIT also influences the manifestation and course of mental illnesses – especially in media-interested children and adolescents with ADHD, PTSD, ASS and other conditions. Their specific usage of the web 2.0, of interactive games and of social media often reflects the underlying disorder and has to be understood and treated in this context.
A working group consisting of neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, pedagogic experts, a professional game-tester and adolescent psychiatrists developed the SOMOSA MediaLabR concept. It includes a real life office simulation setting, in depth neuropsychological testing, a set of adequate „serious games” specifically tailored for the individual patient, virtual reality techniques, creative software programs, a high end music recording and producing facility, and the possibility to optimise and critically reflect the social media behaviour of the patients preparing personalized websites and social media appearences.
The first phase of the implementation of the SOMOSA MediaLabR program in 2014 within the clinical context integrated patients with ASS, PTSD and hyperimpulsivity due to ADHD or dissocial developments. The modular concept and the individualised set of methods of DIT provided a well accepted and personalized approach. The adolescents were in very close cooperation with the professional team to ameliorate the concept and to integrate new ideas.
As adolescents with severe and comorbid mental disorders show specific problems in age- and content-adequate usage of electronic media of all kinds, we recommend an intensified integration of DIT in inpatient therapeutic institutions for children and adolescents. The SOMOSA MediaLabR system seems to be a first step in integrating DIT in multisystemic therapy in this age group. We appreciate further scientific research.