These days, we’re hearing more and more about the possibility of digital addiction. Some people would rather spend time engaged with their screens than almost anything else, and just might use most of the day doing so. Is digital addiction legit? Or just another example of fake news?
We reported on this just a few weeks ago in one of our Culture Clips:
Speaking of mental health, the World Health Organization has officially classified video game addiction as a mental health disorder. But some experts—such as Christopher Ferguson, a psychologist and media researcher at Stetson University—remain skeptical of the scientific basis for the new category. “There was a fairly widespread concern that this is a diagnosis that doesn’t really have a very solid research foundation,” Ferguson told USA Today. Similarly, the American Psychiatric Association has said that there is not “sufficient evidence” to define video game addiction as a “unique mental disorder,” USA Today also reported.
Whether or not gaming (or phone usage) will ever be classified as an official mental disorder , I’m convinced that there are millions on this planet who go way overboard when it comes to digital media—people whose time on these digital device spills over negatively into their relationships, school, job, marriage, etc.
I recently watched a 20/20 special on ABC (thanks to a tip from a Houston family therapist named Rhonda Kay Velders) that followed several individuals who said they were addicted to technology. In the special (which you can watch by clicking here), I particularly remembered the stories of a teen girl who said she was addicted to her phone and two people (ages 44 and 14) addicted to video games. That only further underscored my strong feelings that the obsession with screen time is like crack cocaine for some users.
If you watch the special, I’ll let you decide whether any of these three has a mental health disorder. But one thing’s for sure: The level of tech dependence we see in the special is not healthy. And you can be sure that many across this great country (and globally) similarly struggle as these three did (and do).
I want to know what you think. Do you feel that digital addiction is a real thing? Do you struggle with it yourself? Let me know below.