Problems can arise, however, when teens misuse or abuse these tools to real-world activities and face-to-face interactions, with virtual experiences. Technology addiction can be defined as frequent and obsessive technology-related behavior increasingly practiced despite negative consequences to the user of the technology.
An over-dependence on tech can significantly impact students’ lives.
Games offer a great variety of choice to players, promoting a sense of autonomy for teens who might feel otherwise out of control.
The same goals that drive people to pursue success in the real world are often present in video games.
Related to FOMO, some Facebook users, for instance, report that they use the Internet-based social media platform as a chosen method to alleviate their anxiety or depression. One hallmark of human psychology is that we want to feel competent, autonomous, and related to other people.
Challenging video games allow players to feel that they are good at something.
Like the Internet itself, games make themselves increasingly accessible to teens via apps on smart phones, never leaving kids’ palms or pockets.
While there is room for social connection in the gaming universe, this space also provides a potential escape from reality into a digital world where players get to assume new identities more appealing or more novel than those they hold in the real life. In the beta draft of its forthcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization includes “gaming disorder” in its list of mental health conditions.
“Pathological” internet use has been linked to depression in teens, and it may even shrink gray matter (see article links below).
Although the long-term effects of screen time are still being studied, the effects of excessive internet and smartphone use are well-documented.