What Connection Does the Author Draw Between the Terminology Used to Classify Technology Addictions and Other Behaviors Like Gambling Or Sex Addiction?

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

As children and teens spend more time online, parents are increasingly concerned that their kids’ screen addiction is unhealthy. While excessive internet and video game usage may not be considered an addiction by doctors, many counseling professionals are aware that such behavior can have serious negative repercussions on their clients’ lives.

What connection does the author draw between the terminology used to classify technology addictions and other behaviors like gambling or sex addiction?

The term “technology addiction” describes a specific type of impulse control disorder involving the use of mobile devices, the internet and video games. It is also sometimes referred to as digital addiction, social media addiction and computer addiction. While it has not yet been included in the Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it shares some characteristics with other behavioral addictions that are recognized as such by health and mental health professionals, including high comorbidity and compulsiveness.

Tech addiction can take on a variety of forms, and can be seen as an extension of already established disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like other impulse-control disorders, those with tech addiction are unable to stop their behavior and will engage in the addictive behavior even when it has a direct negative impact on their physical or emotional well-being.

The idea that computers can be addictive dates back to at least the 1970s, when British e-learning academic Nicholas Rushby suggested in his 1979 book An Introduction to Educational Computing that people could become addicted to computer games. More recently, psychologist Mary Shotton has questioned whether computers turn gregarious, extroverted people into recluses by offering them a source of excitement, entertainment and intellectual stimulation.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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