Video Game Addiction Treatment

A New Phenomenon

Many young people today rely on the Internet to send messages, keep up with peers, complete homework or attend school, and do a lot of other things in their everyday lives. However, new scientific studies have focused on how certain individuals become fixated on various areas of the Internet, especially gaming online.

To the exclusion of other pursuits, “gamers” play obsessively, and their relentless and frequent internet use leads to discomfort or impairment that is clinically substantial. Because of how much time they spend playing, many young people jeopardize their ability to perform academically, socially, and physically with sports or other extra-curricular pursuits.

When prevented from playing video games, some young people will exhibit withdrawal symptoms. Below are the current criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder:

  1. Repetitive use of Internet-based games, often with other players, leads to significant issues with functioning.  Five of the following criteria must be met within one year:
  2. Preoccupation or obsession with Internet games.
  3. Withdrawal symptoms when not playing Internet games.
  4. A build-up of tolerance–more time needs to be spent playing the games.
  5. The person has tried to stop or curb playing Internet games but has failed to do so.
  6. The person has had a loss of interest in other life activities, such as hobbies.
  7. A person has had continued overuse of Internet games even with the knowledge of how much they impact a person’s life.
  8. The person lied to others about his or her Internet game usage.
  9. The person uses Internet games to relieve anxiety or guilt–it’s a way to escape.
  10. The person has lost or put at risk an opportunity or relationship because of Internet games.

Our resort-like setting on 350 private acres is the perfect setting to break the internet habit. Campers establish new healthy habits by reconnecting with nature, peers, athletics, and themselves.


First and foremost, Summerland at Camp Pocono Trails (CPT) is fun!  We truly meet campers where they are.  We have fun and build rapport so they will trust and respect their counselor and bunkmates.  We don’t call internet gaming disorder or social media overuse an “addiction” with campers. Instead, we use a habit formation approach that frames the issue in a way where campers feel that change is quite possible.  “Addiction” on the other hand feels overwhelming like you are powerless to change.

We also don’t call our mental health professionals (LCSW’s, psychologists, or masters level counselors) “therapists.” Instead, we call them “behavior coaches.” Every therapist at camp goes by “coach.” We see the growth process as a coaching relationship, and our campers are like athletes in training learning practical strategies to set goals, change daily routines, and self-regulate their screen time. The overall tone is camp is positive and fun.


Summerland at CPT campers are introduced to the concept of “self-regulation” and how top performers, from Olympic athletes to Fortune 500 executives, utilize self-regulation techniques to control their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to reach targeted goals. Campers keep a Behavior Planning Journal (BPJ) and track their goals and daily routine. Campers learn to embrace structure at camp and learn new ways to meet social needs, combat boredom, and develop interests outside of gaming.

Summerland at CPT campers receive 3 groups per week on average; two tech-focused groups and one self-esteem group. During group, we develop strategies to self-regulate behaviors within a certain set of parameters to achieve their desired goal.


Summerland at CPT was created to help families find balance with the technology overuse problem and co-occurring issues that plague today’s youth.  While screen time overuse is undeniably a major health concern for adolescents and teens, families and treatment professionals alike know little about solutions to this epidemic.

Left unchecked, screen time overuse can lead to social withdrawal, depression, and defiance.  Parents often report that trying to limit screen time behaviors results in anger and frustration on the part of the child and parents often have a sense of hopelessness about the child’s future and ability to succeed independently.

Our groups are designed to build insight into how excessive screen time can impact school, extra-curricular, or social learning and teach coping skills to limit the harm screens can potentially cause.  Parents who contact Summerland at CPT realize that without intervention, their child succeeding independently without intervention is unlikely.

  • We provide a technology detox/reset in a fun summer camp environment. On 350 acres packed with activities and sports facilities, we introduce campers to a range of sports and hobbies to increase non-technology healthy interests. From archery to zip lines, we have it all!
  • Summerland at CPT campers attend focus groups to question thinking, develop insight, and count the costs of technology overuse. We separate groups by age and gender. Campers receive an insight-building workbook about tech habits, a book on presenting yourself in a positive light online, and a behavior planning journal (BPJ). Each item is utilized in group.
  • Meeting with a behavior coach and groups to develop intrinsic motivation to manage technology use and create a lifestyle change
  • Training on how to self-monitor and use a behavior planning journal (BPJ).
  • Parental component including a parent guide, online family workshop, and regular updates/communication.

Summerland at CPT is available for all CPT campers at an additional cost. During your camper’s stay at CPT, they receive ongoing prompting to journal and self-regulate a variety of behaviors including goal setting, reading, food intake, exercise, prosocial behavior (which can include introducing self to others, learning bunkmate’s names, and trying out new activities), and any health habit the camper wishes to build.

A common theme in group is how self-regulation skills can also be used for goal attainment outside of tech use.  Picking a more positive path in life, healthy living, and more productive use of your free time is an underlying theme of the camp and part of the Summerland at CPT philosophy.  Campers often pick goals to work on back home such os participating in Zumba, weightlifting, picking a club at school, practicing for the SAT, and more. Please contact us today at 1-800-365-0556 to discuss the Summerland at CPT program and how to enroll your child for this additional camp experience.