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Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest

The Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest brings together addiction and mental health service providers, researchers and subject matter experts in the fields of gambling, technology/Internet use and video gaming to collaborate and share knowledge on emerging trends and clinical best practices.

Digital Burnout: COVID-19 Lockdown Mediates Excessive Technology Use Stress
by Sharma Manoj Kumar, Anand Nitin, Ahuja Shikha, Thakur Pranjali Chakraborty, Mondal Ishita, Singh Priya, Kohli Tavleen, Venkateshan Sangeetha

View the article here

Discussions of how events of the Covid-19 pandemic might impacts various areas of human life have been a hot topic for debate over the previous 2 years. With outbreak numbers stabilizing and the resuming of "normal" daily activities more recently, research has begun to emerge regarding what exactly this impact really has been. The article cited above is one of many contributing to this growing body of research and the information contained points to some drastic (but maybe unsurprising) statistics regarding pre- to post-Covid technology use:

  • "The time spent has increased by 57% for watching streaming web-series/shows, 47% for social media, 46% on messenger services, 39% on listening to streaming music services, 36% more time on mobile applications, 35% increased time for video games, 15% for creating and uploading videos, and 14% more time on listening to podcasts."
  • "The time spent has amplified by 76% for smartphone use, 45% for laptops, 32% for desktops, 22% for tablet devices, 34% for smart TV or streaming devices, 17% for gaming consoles, 11% for smart speakers, and 6.3% on smart watches".

With this in mind, I wonder how our perception of "problematic" technology use may be influenced by how normal it has become to spend increasing amounts of time using digital technology. As the article states, "due to COVID 19, there is an increased use of online modalities for academics, work, tele-consultation, online meetings as well as for leisure time activities". Clinically, either ourselves or those we serve may not be aware of the difference in our use behaviours and patterns from 2 short years ago. In other words, what was once "high" technology use may now be necessary to complete daily tasks.

Although this article does not speak directly to problematic technology use, it may offer helpful suggestions for those individuals whom are looking to reduce their use of technology including "taking frequent breaks from the screen use, structured hours for online office work, demarcated time for online leisure activities, engagement in indoor physical activities, secure time spent for offline communication with family members, stopping use of digital devices and use of online activities one hour before sleep time, and avoiding caffeine use to delay sleep time".

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"Clinically, either ourselves or those we serve may not be aware of the difference in our use behaviours and patterns from 2 short years ago. In other words, what was once "high" technology use may now be necessary to complete daily tasks."

- Such a great point, Rachel! I think your commentary is spot on. I've been thinking a lot about ways we "measure" or ask clients about their technology use and trying to determine when it becomes harmful. Our latest "Youth, Smartphones and Social Media" page might be of interest so I'll link it here.

Great find on an important topic! Like you said, looking at PTU based on the amount of time appears even more inaccurate now. This strengths the idea that PTU involves looking at case by case and whether or not it is causing issues for people. For example, spending 8 hours a day streaming shows when you are unable to work or engage in your normal meaning activities due to COVID lockdowns has a very different level of impact compared to spending that same amount of time streaming when you now work 40 hours a week again along with other previous responsibilities in the community.

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