Internet radio show: A rabbi talks with a psychologist about Internet porn addiction.

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Internet radio show: A rabbi talks with a psychologist about Internet porn addiction. SKIP THE FIRST 18 MINUTES - and around 43:00 they lost the conections for a few minues.

Internet Addiction with Dr Shagalow


I'm confused by the doctor's

I'm confused by the doctor's use of internet problem as a placeholder for porn addiction. These are related at best. Euphemism doesn't belong in this space. I don't like the use of problem either. Internet addiction itself is real. This mixed use is confusing, especially to listeners that might not realize that the internet isn't only pornography. It isn't going to be helpful if folks think e.g., owning a smartphone equals being a porn addict.

The doctor makes a distinction between addiction and growing up behaviors. He doesn't at all talk about the overall vacuum in child education. The communities he's serving have unique issues regarding extreme separation on the sexes. There are families where even siblings barely interact or eat together. The religious self-judgment, guilt, etc. likely makes the addiction worse and sustains it.

I don't think it was intentional, but there is some judgment in the tone. I'm guessing it isn't easy for professionals to ignore the judgment of the listeners. He's got to be more careful when mixing spiritual void with addiction propensity. While he spoke of a connection vacuum, he completely ignored touch. Keep in mind that it is likely the teenagers he is speaking about are within tight-knit communities. He seemingly didn't want to address larger communal issues.

Nobody out there who doesn't recognize the problem? Is he kidding?

He seems to blame a bit too many human failings on pornography. That might set up addicts for failed recovery.

Hopefully he'll open up more when his radio jitters wear off.

I thought this was pretty

I thought this was pretty good actually. The doctor covered much of the same ground that people cover on this site. He identified some common factors among people who beat the addiction successfully:
- They are mindful, and think about dealing with internet addiction daily
- they have accountability partners, e.g. professionals or friends
- they look for alternative ways of interacting with people face to face instead of relying on electronic channels
- they create a structure in their day, in their work life, and in their spiritual life, and are busy and productive. Even if you are busy with work, you need to take care of your spiritual life.
However, the big piece that was missing was the importance of touch and flirtation in helping people get over their addiction... wonder if that was because the audience is conservative , or he just hasn't got that far in figuring it out?

The doctor used the terms internet addiction and porn addiction interchangeably, but he was very clear on the damage he has seen in his practice caused by porn addiction, and was also very clear that this is a new phenomenon, and that its power is underestimated by many people. Much of the discussion centered on the fantasy and make-believe that pervades most porn.

I also liked the way he talked about how we all have to grapple with sexual issues and sexual urges in our lives, and if I understood correctly he mentioned that this was covered in the Torah thousands of years ago, and to some extent is part of the human condition. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of that. It is refreshing to get a Jewish perspective on this... perhaps not quite as burdened with the notions of purity and the inevitable guilt of falling short of the ideal that seems to be part of the Christian tradition (or maybe that is just my Catholic upbringing !).