Brad Huddleston on The Dark Side of Technology Addiction Withdrawal

A child plays video game Minecraft at the Minecon convention in London July 4, 2015. The 10,000 tickets sold for Minecon in London made it the largest ever convention for a single video game. REUTERS/Matthew Tostevin

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of BCNN1. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

I can’t tell you how many times, after giving a talk, a parent has come up to me and said something like, “You just described my child to a tee.”

The only thing I do is give a list of the general symptoms of digital addiction with explanations. Here’s the list:

  • anger
  • aggression
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • irritability
  • attention deficits
  • emotional numbness

There are more, but in my experience, these are the most common. I convey to my audiences that most of us experience at least some of these symptoms simply because of our daily stresses. What I’m talking about is an exacerbation of these symptoms brought on by addiction.

Anger and aggression are at the top of the list for a reason. These two are the ones I hear about most often, and they can turn horrid. For example, 17-year-old Daniel Petric from Ohio made national news for shooting his parents after they took the violent video game Halo 3 away from him.[i] His mother died, and his father was injured. If you don’t think it can get that extreme in your home, think again. Daniel’s conviction was in 2009.[ii] Video game technology has and continues to advance at a mind-numbing pace, and the brain clearly cannot handle the ever-growing levels of stimulation.

Dr. Victoria Dunckley, in her book, Reset Your Childs Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time, describes the intensified psychiatric symptoms this way:

Screen-time affects our brains and bodies at multiple levels, manifesting in various mental health symptoms related to mood, anxiety, cognition, and behavior. Because the effects of screen-time are complicated and diverse, I’ve found it helpful to conceptualize the constellation of common phenomena as a syndrome — what I call Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS). Importantly, ESS can occur in the absence of a psychiatric disorder and yet mimic one, or it can occur in the face of an underlying disorder and exacerbate it.[iii]

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brad Huddleston