There is certainly is no disputing that children are putting in more media time than ever. Along with televisions, smartphones, texting, and video games, many children now have personal computers, digital music players, and the Internet to fill every waking moment. And evidence suggests that even toddlers and preschoolers now joining the digital masses.
Still, despite repeated warnings from public health experts and researchers, actual research looking at how addictive digital media really is remains fairly limited. In fact, up to now, much of that research has focused on video games addiction. Based on available research, the American Psychiatric Association has even proposed a new diagnosis, Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). Based on other forms of addictive behaviour such as problem gambling, symptoms that might indicate IGD include: spending excessive amounts of time online, inability to control use, loss of interest in other activities, etc.
But can these same symptoms be applied to other kinds of screen media use? And can those symptoms appear differently in children under the age of twelve than they do in adolescents? A new research article published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture attempts to answer both of these questions.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.