Technology: The New Drug Of the Modern World Share +

Posted by: coronadosafe 3 years, 10 months ago

At our recent 4th Annual Coronado SAFE Parenting Conference, Dr. Andrew Doan provided an excellent presentation on the dangerous effects of technology and video game addiction. He provided scientific evidence to the physiological effects of technology and videos games - especially in children and young adults whose brains are not yet fully developed. While it’s easy to dismiss the idea of addiction within the realm of technology, the truth is that within today’s modern world, online games and media are becoming an obsession that is growing and often begins at a young age.

Some key takeaways from the presentation include:

  • Online gaming is the new drug of the modern world that affects that mind and body just like drugs, alcohol, and gambling.
  • Addiction behaviors are easily transferred, so if your child is addicted to gaming, there is a higher risk of getting addicted to other substances.
  • The Difference Between “Digital Vegetables” and “Digital Candy”:
    • Digital vegetables: limited exposure to  healthy, educational gaming which can improve hand-eye coordination and quick thinking
    • Digital candy: online media (video games) that stimulate the brain with adrenaline and the sense of pleasure (much like the effects of candy). The effects of digital candy are parallel to the effects of drugs on the brain. Pleasure and excitement from the intense and unhealthy virtual realities displace the pleasure and excitement that would normally be experienced in more healthy activities.
  • The five-relationship rule: a healthy person will have about five true and healthy relationships. This means being able to communicate IN PERSON and on a deeper level than small talk. Online gaming can lead to “virtual friendships” that do not allow for children to exercise good communication skills. 
  • The Pavlov experiment: similar to how Pavlov discovered behavioral conditioning, humans have begun to associate their devices with the notion of being in love, which creates false realities.

For presentation slides please CLICK HERE or for a video of Dr. Doan's presentation at the Coronado SAFE 4th Annual Parenting Conference on January 30th, please CLICK HERE

While it is unrealistic to completely go “cold turkey” and cut our technology from our lives, there are ways that we can limit the harmful side-effects and prevent our children and ourselves from heading down the wrong path.

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Opportunities for Change:

  • Consider having your child carry a flip phone instead of a “mini computer” in their pockets
  • Substitute gaming time with family time (which can include games if they are family appropriate such as the Wii)
  • For however many minutes of online time your child uses, require them to do a physical activity for the same amount of time
  • Let your kids be bored! This is when creativity occurs, and your kids can find their talents.     

Check out these resources:

Expect resistance:

Change does not occur overnight. Your child will not be happy with these changes, and they will test your boundaries. Again, if this were a drug, you could expect the user to fight back and find creative ways to get their needs met. Be supportive, be validating of their frustration and experience together, find solutions and alternative outlets together.  Be consistent with boundaries and consequences (it’s okay to let your kids be angry at you).

Gaming addiction is a real problem that needs to be acknowledged. In the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Internet Gaming Disorder has become one of the few conditions warranting further clinical research and possible future inclusion as a diagnosable mental disorder. Family counseling services can be very helpful in approaching this topic and finding solutions that best work for your home- to find out more about Coronado SAFE’s free counselling program, call 619.522.6884 or visit us online at CoronadoSAFE.org.