In May 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) included a new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) video game use disorder. This means that, as of 2022, health service providers are obliged to ensure that children and young people can receive treatment for this disease.
And it is not only a disorder caused by addiction to video games, because the concern about the use that children and young people are giving to technology is growing more and more.
A San Diego State University study published in 2017 in Sage Journal confirmed that 48 percent of teens in the United States, who spent more than five hours in front of a screen, manifested symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts.
How to recognize children and young people addicted to technology?
Some health professionals who have been in charge of cases of technology addiction comment that we should not be guided only by the number of hours children and young people spend in front of their screens. Since, in some cases such activities may be related to school assignments, for example. Therefore, it is not a matter of demonizing the use of the devices.
According to Jorge Franco, a neuropsychiatrist, what should be done is not only to pay attention to the device, but to try to see what it is contributing to the person:
“If being glued to a screen begins to affect other areas of life, the child becomes isolated, interacts less in social life or their academic performance drops, we must set the alarm bells ringing for a possible addiction”.
On the other hand, parents should pay special attention to the attitude that children and young people assume when their technological device is taken away from them.
Santiago Brand, a specialist in brain mapping and neurofeedback, comments that if, in addition to the typical reaction of anger, the child feels anxiety, nerves, cannot control his emotions and becomes violently upset. You may be facing a case of technology addiction.
How to help them?
Ultimately, the solution to the problem is for parents, children and youth to strive for different activities. According to Franco:
“There is no need to despair if your child looks bored by limiting technology. because boredom fosters creativity.”
So the best solution or prevention of the problem is, for example, to do outdoor activities in which the whole family forgets for a few hours the existence of technology. Since parents are the greatest example for their children, and perhaps this could be the root of the problem. Before criticizing their addiction, what you should do is analyze your own use of technology.
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