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Internet Addiction: the new drug of the digital age?

By kcrofton at Jan. 13, 2012, 5:33 p.m., 6688 hits

In a busy family resort during the Christmas holiday season, it came as no surprise to see every child, and most of the parents, clutching a mobile digital device. At one table each person in the family was absorbed in their electronic cocoon with an iPad, iPhone and/or Blackberry, while the grandparents sat quietly in the midst. Many potential issues here.

Is their family addicted, or just immersed in the endless array of apps?

Is it possible to become addicted with the usual concomitant changes in the brain?

A UK journalist, Jeremy Laurance, reports on a small study indicating this possiblity:

“ Researchers in China scanned the brains of 17 adolescents diagnosed with ‘internet addiction disorder’ who had been referred to the Shanghai Mental Health Centre, and compared the results with scans from 16 of their peers.

The results showed impairment of white matter fibres in the brain connecting regions involved in emotional processing, attention, decision making and cognitive control. Similar changes to the white matter have been observed in other forms of addiction to substances such as alcohol and cocaine.

”The findings suggest that white matter integrity may serve as a potential new treatment target in internet addiction disorder,“ they say in the online journal Public Library of Science One. The authors acknowledge that they cannot tell whether the brain changes are the cause or the consequence of the internet addiction. It could be that young people with the brain changes observed are more prone to becoming addicted.

In my book, Wireless Radiation Rescue, one of the contributors, Hans Scheiner, MD warned of this emerging condition:

”Children and young people can become physiologically addicted to electro-magnetic radiation (EMR). So excessive cell phone use and wireless computer games are not just an addictive habit, or a behavioral issue. EMR opens the blood-brain barrier in the same way as alcohol and drugs. This can give a feeling of euphoria, and when you try to get them away from the game they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, as you may know if you’ve tried to reduce your child’s computer/gaming time and cell phone use."

There are also potential health risks with exposure to wireless radiation. More details at

— Last Edited by Kerry Crofton, PhD at 2012-01-13 17:35:28 —

— Last Edited by Kerry Crofton, PhD at 2012-01-13 17:36:20 —

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