Screen-addicted children may have newest mental illness

19/11/2012 2:02
Screen-addicted children may have newest mental illness
Finally the people who define the “norm” have realised that there may be a problem with younger children being introduced to computers (which are just tools) without proper guidelines or supervision.  To have them finally formally categorise the problem means that the symptoms are showing. How long until we (collectively) do something about it. Although as I write this I’m watching a mother in a shopping centre , actively ignoring her children as she bonds with her iPhone – I wonder where the children get these ideas from?

Full article can be read from the link above.

Children addicted to using electronic devices 24/7 will be diagnosed with a serious mental illness if a new addiction, included as ”internet-use disorder” in a worldwide psychiatric manual, is confirmed by further research.
The formal inclusion of the new addiction has been welcomed by Australian psychology professionals in response to a wave of ”always-on” technology engulfing kids.

The Sun-Herald has spoken to parents of children as young as seven who are aggressive, irritable and hostile when deprived of their iPads or laptops. Psychologists argue video game and internet addictions share the characteristics of other addictions, including emotional shutdown, lack of concentration and withdrawal symptoms if the gadgets are removed……..

……Commentary in the United States about the move has raised the spectre of children being over-treated and even medicated for playing computer games.

But some Australian psychologists argue there should be an even broader diagnosis of internet-use addiction, allowing proper treatment of children obsessed by other technologies such as texting and a proliferation of devices such as iPads, tablets and Nintendo DS.

Reflecting problems with children’s over-use of technology, Mike Kyrios from Swinburne University of Technology – one of the authors of the APS submission and a clinical psychologist with more than 15 years experience – is formally pushing for the revised manual to broaden internet-use disorder beyond gaming addictions…… ”With kids, gaming is an obvious issue. But overall, technology use could be a potential problem,” he said.

……..In January, Emil Hodzic, a qualified psychologist with seven years experience, established a video game addiction treatment clinic in Sydney’s CBD, because of what he saw as growing demand from frustrated parents and damaged children. He said he was seeing clients as young as 12 addicted to the internet and video games.

…….Mr Hodzic said about 70 per cent of his clients were children and teenagers, with many showing addiction symptoms closely related to anxiety and depression. ”A lot of kids I have coming into the clinic have difficultly in being able to tolerate distress without zoning out via the internet or via the games,” he said.

But psychiatrist Rhoshel Lenroot, the chairman of child psychiatry at the University of NSW, said it was still too early to know how detrimental technology overuse could be. ”I think [it] can be dangerous in not learning how to pay attention in a focused way, but in balance there is nothing wrong with technology.”

Tess Michaels