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Internet-Addict Mom Loses Custody

October 23, 1997

UMATILLA, Fla. (AP) _ Spending too much time on the Internet has cost a woman custody of her children.

Pam Albridge lost custody of her children, ages 7 and 8, earlier this month after a judge decided she was addicted to the Internet.

Lake County Circuit Judge Jerry Lockett awarded primary custody to Kevin Albridge after he petitioned for them, The Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.

``The wife is, for want of a better term, `addicted’ to the Internet and ignores the needs of the children,″ Albridge, 35, said in court records.

Internet Addiction Syndrome was first identified by psychologists about two years ago. Computer users with the syndrome will sneak online in the middle of the night, call in sick or ignore their families to spend time on the computer, said Kimberly Young, a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and founder of the Center for Online Addiction.

Witnesses testified that after the couple separated, Mrs. Albridge moved the computer into her bedroom, put a lock on the door and began spending most of her time online.

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