Michael R. Solomon

Swimming with the (Digital) Fishes: The Perils of Screen Addiction

In Consumer Behavior, self-concept digital identity marketing advertising on May 22, 2017 at 12:25 pm

It’s no secret that many kids (and quite a few grownups as well) are spending a big chink of time everyday in front of a screen (about 11 hours per day on average by some estimates). Some are shopping, some are sexting, maybe a few outliers are doing homework. Many get drawn into immersive multiplayer videogames and literally lose track of time as this alternate universe replaces “reality.”

Parents may find this concerning, but they may be unsure how –or if — they can address the issue. How’s this for “tough love?”A Chinese man got so upset about the amount of time his adult son spent playing videogames that he took a novel approach: He hired “digital hit men” in the form of other gamers to kill off all of his son’s characters in the games.

Psychologists compare screen addiction to chemical dependency, to the point of inducing symptoms of withdrawal when users are deprived of their fix. As one expert noted, “Everyone is a potential addict—they’re just waiting for their drug of choice to come along, whether heroin, running, junk food or social media.”

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