Addicted to technology

Digital Detox: UK doc treats kids as young as 4 for technology addiction, Canada AM, April 29, 2013

A sobering article about a UK psychologist working with children and adolescents who are “hooked on” media machines. Though the article is a bit cursory in terms of his definitions of media or internet addiction (see my articles in Psychology Today about the subject of internet addiction for more details), he has a very interesting way of treating the condition.

Also, the article does lay out some of the basics of diagnosis: the person being so involved in the world of the screen that he or she cuts off other social and most family contacts and any educational development, and the person throwing fits or tantrums when the screens are removed.

His approach to treatment is a variation on the treatment of a drug addict or alcoholic: abstinence. This might involve outpatient abstinence if possible, or even 30 day residential treatment, an approach that emulates a time-honored method for drug addicts and alcoholics.

But he then suggests reintroducing the media in heavily monitored and circumscribed amounts after the treatment is over and the young patient as successfully “withdrawn.” This is different from the approach of AA: remaining clean and sober is for a lifetime.