return – the specialist unit for media addiction was established in 2008 as a counselling office in Hanover, and it deals with all issues in connection with problematic use of on-screen media (excessive playing of computer games, consumption of pornography, inappropriate use of smartphones, …)
Diakoniewerk Kirchröder Turm e.V. is the body responsible for the institution.
Its staff offer counselling for addicts and their relatives. Many parents, but also many local youths seek professional advice there. The number of men seeking help from the specialist unit to break their habit of consuming pornography is increasing from year to year.
In addition to individual counselling, return has started several groups to address various target groups.
The staff are actively engaged in preventive lessons and projects at many schools and youth welfare institutions to counteract media addiction. They offer media education programmes for parents in educational institutions from pre-school kindergartens to senior secondary schools. The aim is to help parents adapt the amount of screen consumption they allow their children to have to their stage of development, in order to prevent problematic developments.
Furthermore, the specialist unit is active in continuing professional development of therapists and teaching staff across Lower Saxony.
To address the rapidly growing problem of juvenile online pornography consumption, the specialist unit has created “Fit for Love?”,. a comprehensive prevention manual for multipliers, which is used in the entire German-speaking region.
Since the spread of digital media and permanent mobile availability of the Internet via smartphone is expected to continue its rapid expansion in future, there is a need for institutions such as “return”, whose workers advise and assist young people concerning this topic with expertise and respect, while also challenging them, and support parents in media education and provide professional advice and assistance for addicts.