INFORMATION ABOUT THE ADDICTION TO VIDEO GAMES, SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INTERNET

Introduction

What is video game (VG), social media and Internet addiction and how does it affect me?

Challenges Families Face with VG, Social Media and Internet Addiction

Many families in the U.S and in the Bay Area are impacted by the stress of life. The teens worry about school, the parents are stressed by work and financial responsibilities. Our numerous electronic devices provide fast and easy access to the internet, social media sites and video games. When this constant access becomes addictive, parents lose the opportunity and ability to guide their teens towards healthy goals and success.

The current generation of adolescents were born in a world with electronic devices present at home and at school. Therefore, it can be a challenge for them to live without these devices. Teens use the Internet, social media or online VG to socialize and connect with the world. Adolescents have been absorbed by the technology and the Internet. If they don’t learn how to use them in moderation and in healthy ways, it becomes out of control with broad implications on their lives and future success.

Some children and adolescents who are more at risk to have depression, anxiety, social anxiety may develop an addiction to VG, social media or the Internet. In some situations, teens can become a target of cyberbullying and it may lead to suicidal behavior.

These factors can have a long-lasting negative impact on life and future success. Moreover, this young population can end up losing the power of creativity to do other activities than using electronic devices or the Internet, have poor grades, avoid school, lose interest in socializing face to face and it may reinforce mental health symptoms.


What is an addiction to video games, social media or the Internet

Adolescents and young adults experience various psychological and physical symptoms when they are addicted to video games, computers, social media or to the Internet.

Psychological symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer or other electronic device, or playing video games
  • Inability to stop the activity
  • Craving more and more time at the computer, other electronic device or playing the VG
  • Neglect of friends and family
  • Feeling empty, depressed, irritable when not at the computer or on other electronic devices
  • Lying to family about activities
  • Problems with school

Physical symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Dry eyes
  • Migraine, headaches
  • Back aches
  • Eating irregularities, skipping meals or not eating at all
  • Failure to attend personal hygiene
  • Serious sleep disturbance