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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.

TEDtalk- Technology Addiction and What you can do about it. Ben Halpert TEDxSaintThomas (2015)

Entertaining Talk about how society is guiding children from infancy to adolescence raised on technology- in many aspectsof their lives and ways to balance technology use to prevent overuse and addiction. This is very applicable to the course as it highlights common themes that people may take for granted without considering the consequences. Ben provides good examples of harm reduction as well.

Some details below:

Very relatable examples of how much technology is integrated in our lives:

Potty training, sleeping with devices in their reach, pre-K using tablet, watching tv shows, play a game on line with those same characters they watch on tv. Child creating in a virtual worldwith on-line friends, have play dates but they are on their devices when together, family restaurant dinners while everyone is on phones/tablets, access to pornography early.


-Benstates-First porn exposure age 11, and onset age is getting earlier.  Higher percentage % watching porn THAN using netflix, twitter and amazon combined.

-1/3 of aged18-24 selfies are the most pics shared on line

-97% children, teens play video games

-¼ teens admit being on line constantly (24/7)

Strategies- some examples below:

-Parents model behaviour not dependant on technology use.

-Moderate screen exposure, create adventures outside without screens.

-Have sex talks with children earlier than you wanted to. Prevent learning it on line

-Assess child tech habits, and address it in the family or bring an expert in to help

-No longer allow device in bed to sleep- as they do not sleep well

-Never bring phone/tablets at meals

3 points about how- it relates to problem gaming- or clinical relevance

1. If technology use begins in infancy, then the pleasure, reward system of the brain changes/pre-frontal lobe functions. It will negatively impact attention spans(focus), the need for immediate gratification and lack the ability to develop patience, and lack of practice problem solving in real life situations, as internet/gaming/social media is a unrealistic version of real life. Similar to gambling addiction- the reward centre- gets excited about the game and the possible wins.

2. Challenges with developing real life relationships, challenges regulating emotions in healthy ways. Communication skills are virtual and impact real life conversations, facial and body language nuances are unfamiliar and interpretations can be skewed. Gaming programs have animated characters, who are presented as extreme human attributes. Self esteem comes with learning to accept who we are, with our imperfections. Social media creates a story of false perfection. Self esteem growth comes with overcoming challenges and being successful in interactions. Technology creates a false sense of accomplishments devoid of real life situations. Poor self esteem can lead to depression, anxiety etc. Technology reinforces this development.

3. Early technology use that consumes much of day to day interactions, can develop into overuse and addiction to technology with the desire to use increasing. Having a reliance and a norm to use this technology through developmental stages- (to help you be creative, help you communicate, regulate emotions, entertain yourself, escape reality, increase self esteem, etc.) can create problems. When these skills are required in real life without technology assistance, I could see people developing anxiety and many challenges going without the devices.

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Thanks for sharing that Ted Talk. As a parent of a toddler, this hit home! It boggles my mind how tech is being promoted as a great way to engage your toddler... those potty examples were hilarious. The research on toddlers using tech is pretty clear... steer clear as much as possible.

I like this presenters suggestion about starting the conversation about tech early from parents to kids, and keep it going. Parents are ultimately responsible for teaching and helping kids set boundaries with tech. It's here to stay, and we need to talk about it in a non-judgmental way, so kids can see parents as supports and not just gate-keepers.

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