Is your cell phone attached to you at all times? Are you obsessively staring at it, browsing the Internet or catching up on the latest social media posts? You’re not alone. Cell phone use can easily become a habit and when used excessively, can be extremely addictive. Did you know that the average college student today uses a smartphone for up to nine hours a day?
A recent news report states that Amazon just bought Twitch, a popular video game streaming site for nearly $1 billion.
A recent article shows that many high-ranking technology executives are actually low-tech parents that limit their children’s exposure to screens and technology as a whole. When Steve Jobs was running Apple and creating the iPhones and iPads that so many of use cannot live without, he was limiting his children’s contact with such products. When asked if his kids loved the iPad, he simply stated, “They haven’t used it.” And he isn’t the only technology executive to do this.
Loneliness can be debilitating and isolating. It causes a person to withdraw and live within themselves, rather than socializing and learning how to interact with others. When a person is withdrawn, it can be very isolating and overwhelming. In Japan, when a person becomes withdrawn, it is known as “hikikomori.” It is used to describe young people who choose to withdraw.
This last week, the world lost a very talented and beloved comedian, Robin Williams. He was an icon in Hollywood – a legend to look up to, especially for comedic actors that are just starting out. It was saddening and disturbing to hear that Williams felt there was no other option except suicide. Darkness and deep sadness truly overwhelmed him.
Violence is all around us. It’s in our neighborhoods, on our televisions, in our movies, and on the news. Real violence – rape, abuse, murder – is everywhere we turn. Yet, as gruesome and horrific as this violence is, society is often perceived as idolizing it. We celebrate it by paying to see violent movies. And we celebrate it by allowing kids to see it on television shows or playing violent video games. A recent study shows that 50% of parents allow their kids, some as young as six years old, to play adult and mature rated games. Some parents allow their young children to play Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto (two of the most well-known violent video games out there) for up to six hours a day. The survey also showed that one in four parents can see a change in behavior after their kids play the game. Approximately 57% of parents say that they think their kids can handle the content in games, even though they aren’t old enough.
Kids are born into a world full of technology. Every week, there seems to be a new advancement in the world of technology. Babies and toddlers grow up surrounded by televisions, computers, video games, tablets, smart phones, and more. A new study revealed that almost half of parents in North West area of the United Kingdom think that their kids are addicted to digital devices. Approximately 44% are glued to their screens, with tablets being the top technology for children (39% of children have their own iPad). More than a third (38%) of North West kids also own a mobile phone, while nearly a quarter (24%) have already got Facebook.
We all know that Facebook can suck you in – log on, start reading and scrolling, and before you know it, you’ve been staring at the screen for a half hour. People are obsessed about posting statuses – they post what they’re eating, what they’re angry about, what they’re celebrating, and everything in between. Facebook has become more than a preoccupation for some people – it has become a part of their everyday lives and they can’t live without it. That’s why, when Facebook experienced a huge glitch in their system last week and it went completely down, people went crazy.
Recently, there have been heated debates over excessive video game use and the addictive nature of games. Video game addicts have been known to exhibit some of the same addictive tendencies as other addicts, including those that are drug or alcohol addicts. A recent investigative piece was published in a United Kingdom newspaper and it talks about Britain’s growing number of gaming addicts and claims that a nearby clinic received 5,000 calls related to seeking help for video game addiction and it also says that three suicides have been linked to Call of Duty.
A recent news report says that South Korean game addicts could be made exempt from mandatory military service. Because of the extreme amount of citizens that struggle with game addiction, the country is in the midst of debating a law that tackles the issue. Even though no one has yet qualified for this exemption, the policy amendment made by South Korea’s Military Manpower Administration in 2010 excuses video game addicts from their mandatory military service.
Every week, we hear about mass shootings at the hand of a violent, enraged gunman. Violence and shootings affect hundreds, if not thousands of innocent people every year. Today, news footage is cluttered with reports and images of people that have suffered at the hands of violence. After the fact, we find out that many mass killers such as Adam Lanza, Anders Berivik, and Evan Ramsey, were addicted to violent video games.
Excessive screen time is common today. Smartphones, televisions, and computers are often used as babysitters for children, even infants. Too much screen time, especially when children are exposed to violence in video games, television and movies (games with 17+ ratings and rated R movies), can change the way their brains respond. They can make children that were once smart and socially engaged, into children that are withdrawn and aggressive. For children and youth that struggle with technology or gaming addiction, screens turn into their drug of choice. A recent article out of the UK interviews a mother of a 12 year old son who has become what she calls, a “monster” – she says she feels like she is living with a drug addict.
More Articles ...
- South Korea Considering a Video Game Addiction Law
- Can your baby become addicted to your smartphone or iPad?
- Slender Man: the cause of a brutal stabbing of 12 year old girl
- Stepping up your game by unplugging
- Are you addicted to selfies?
- 100 million Chinese gaming addicts
- Is the wired world creating a lack of empathy?
- Father kills son because of gaming addiction
- What happens to young minds have lasting effects
- Man kills baby to play XBOX