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Kids addicted to screens ‘may be having newly-discovered mental illness’

Sydney, September 30 (ANI): Children who are addicted to using electronic devices all day long will be diagnosed with a serious mental illness if a new addiction, included as “internet-use disorder” in a worldwide psychiatric manual, researchers say.

The formal inclusion of the new addiction has been welcomed by Australian psychology professionals in response to a wave of “always-on” technology engulfing kids.

Psychologists argue video game and internet addictions share the characteristics of other addictions, including emotional shutdown, lack of concentration and withdrawal symptoms if the gadgets are removed.

“With kids, gaming is an obvious issue. But overall, technology use could be a potential problem”, the Sydney morning Herald quoted Mike Kyrios, Professor of Psychology, as saying.

Other fallout can include devastating impacts for children and families as social interaction and even food are neglected in favour of the virtual worlds the children inhabit.

Australian experts contributed to the Australian Psychological Society’s submission to the international manual, supporting the inclusion of an addiction focused on internet gaming.

According to Professor Kyrios, once more research is invested in the disorder, it would allow health professionals to diagnose children with addictive behaviours from technology overuse and treat them appropriately, including strategies to change their obsessive over-reliance on being connected.

“‘With kids, gaming is an obvious issue. But overall, technology use could be a potential problem,”‘ he said.

Professor Kyrios said children with underlying obsessive compulsive disorders could be at risk from technology overuse. (ANI)