In a recent speech in Poland at the International Catholic Youth Festival, Pope Francis made some very strong statements about his view of gaming addiction and some of the negative effects of technology on today’s young people. There were nearly 1 million people there and he was quoted as saying that the overuse of technology is making youth today “drowsy and dull.” During his speech, he encouraged them to step up and leave a positive mark on the world. Pope Francis stated that gaming provides children and young adults an illusion of what life really is – a life that is safe from fear, pain, or worries. He warned that if taken too far, these habits will keep young people from dealing with conflict in the right way and instead immerse themselves in games to find comfort and relief. Pope Francis said, “Dear young people, we did not come into the world to vegetate…we came for another reason: to leave a mark.” With video games, smart phones, iPads, and tablets at the fingertips of today’s youth almost constantly, Pope Francis believes that young people can fail to see what’s happening all over the world and how they can be involved in making things better. (1)
That little yellow Pokemon is taking over everyone’s phones! They’re popping up all over. People are glued to their phones, they’re trying they’re racing into the real world to find his location and catch him. They’re running into busy streets and hopping over fences to catch him.
Last week, a male teenage attacker in Munich went on a shooting rampage and shot 35 people and 9 of them died. His gun had more than 300 bullets in it and seven of the people killed were only teenagers. News sources report that the gunman researched how to carry out the shooting for over a year. The head of the criminal police department indicated that the gunman was a devoted player of first person shooter video games including “Counter-Strike.” They discovered that he illegally purchased the gun through the web and there has been documentation released that the shooter lived with mental illness including anxiety and depression. In 2015, he was treated in an inpatient mental care facility and had since been treated on an outpatient basis. He was said to have had fears of contact with others. (1)
Facebook opens many people up to new worlds. They can catch up with old friends, read news stories, learn how to cook, and get home décor ideas. Facebook can be a lot of fun, but if it starts taking up hours of your time every day, it could be turning into a problem for you. Facebook for some people, sucks their time away every day and over time, damages their relationships in real life. This was the case for a couple that had recently got married.
You’ve had a long day and all you want to do is get into bed and relax. While some might turn to relaxing in bed with a book, many of us today want to lay in bed and relax by browsing their phones. Whether it’s catching up on the latest news headlines of the day or scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram page, using your phones to surf the web before bed is a common way for people to unwind. But is it good for your eyes?
Are you addicted to games like Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds? Sure, you might not be shooting at the enemy, slaying a huge dragon, or rescuing a trapped princess, but simple games like these can be incredibly addictive. In a recent article by Alex Walker, he talks about Gazillionaire Deluxe, an addictive game that he played endlessly in the 1990s. This was a simple trading game that gave you a ship, a large loan, a string of artificial intelligence opponents that will float around and trade off. There are upgrades, taxes, surprising encounters and simple supply and demand scenarios which make it simple, yet to him, it was incredibly addictive. He spent hours upon hours playing it with his brother, sometimes until 3 AM. It wasn’t the fanciest game on the market, but there were things about it that made it appealing and difficult to turn off. (1)
A recent published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors discusses the link between video game addiction and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The study included 20,000 participants that answered questions about gaming addiction and according to Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, doctor of psychology and clinical psychologist specialist at the University of Bergren, the study showed clear tendencies as to which type of people develop an addiction to social media and gaming.
A recent story from CNN interviews Terry Crews, a famous actor and former NFL player, that was a sex addict who was consumed with watching pornography. He says that it “really, really messed up my life” and that it threatened his relationship with his wife and that it caused him to wall off his emotions to the point of destruction. Crews went to rehab for his addiction and has made a series of viral social media videos talking about his struggle with pornography, which has been refreshing and encouraging for millions of people that have struggled with the same thing. He says, "It changes the way you think about people. People become objects. People become body parts; they become things to be used rather than people to be loved." He goes on to say that his struggle was private for a long time and that his wife said that she hardly knew him anymore. He believes that everything you need for intimacy is found with your partner, not in porn. (1)
When you think about someone with high blood pressure, the image that first comes to mind is probably not a young teenager. But, more teens are becoming the victim of heart disease and high blood pressure because of the hours that they sit unmoving in front of the Internet and the arousal associated with video games stimulating the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. Researchers recently found that teens who spend at least 14 hours a week in front of the Internet have high blood pressure and they found that some teens used the internet excessively, for an average of 25 hours a week. These results also add to the growing research that links excessive internet use and other health struggles like depression, obesity, anxiety, social isolation, and addiction. The study looked at more than 300 teens ages 14-17 who had their blood pressure taken. They also completed a 55 question survey on internet use, with the results showing 39% of girls were heavy internet users compared to 43% of boys. Researchers found that 43% of heavy internet users were considered overweight compared to 26% of light internet users. (1)
A shocking story out of India talks about two brothers that were so addicted to video games, that they stopped eating and using the bathroom because they were so immersed in their game. They would play for hours upon hours and it was reported that vandals broke in their home twice and they didn’t notice because they continued to play their game. Their parents recognized the problem and decided to admit them into a psychiatry ward to help rehabilitate them and get them back on track. They were reportedly there for over a month. "Many parents come to us with complaints of children spending excessive time surfing the internet. But this case was a shocker indeed. We had to admit them for over a month to reduce the craving for online games and prevent a relapse," Dr Ankur Sachdeva, the psychiatrist who treated them told The Times of India. (1)
We all know the Facebook trap: you open it up on your phone or laptop and you start scrolling. Before you know it, your eyes are glazing over and 20 minutes has gone by. When Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg founded the site, he wanted to have everyone spend lots of time clicking around his website and now, 12 years later, it has changed the way we interact. In fact, social media as a whole has revolutionized communication as a whole. For many people, face to face interactions are secondary. The go-to communication tactic is direct messaging, texting, or posting messages on people’s Facebook pages. The time consumers spend on Facebook has become so excessive that according to the company’s 2012 IPO filings, users spend about 10.5 billion minutes a day (not counting on mobile apps) worldwide. That means people have spent about 55 million years on Facebook since 2009. If that’s not shocking enough, it’s estimated that this wasted time is costing about $3.5 trillion in wasted productivity. In fact, if you spent those 20 minutes a day off of Facebook and working a minimum wage job, you could make a little over $800 that year. (1)
An April 2015 study discussed in Preventative Medicine suggests that parents who are “overly” involved or those that strive for their children to experience exceptional achievement in their lives may increase their children’s risk of physical inactivity, especially for those that are ages 7 to 12. (1) In response to this, Jordan Shapiro, a contributor for Forbes suggests that this study is puzzling and that we should all actually be practicing “intentional” hyper parenting, meaning we should be constantly thoughtful of the decisions we’re making and how they will affect our children, understanding that we are always teaching our kids how to interact with the world and how they can live fulfilled lives. Active parenting will help develop our children into emotionally, intellectually, and physically healthy kids and if Shapiro argues that if we sat back and did nothing, our kids would likely sit on their laptops, tablets, or in front of the television as long as possible. (2)
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