Australian science hub, RiAus, is hosting an event in Sydney to discuss what effect digital technology is having on human minds.
Its aim is to assess the extent of internet addiction, and to define a standardised classification of the syndrome.
“There is a drive in the field now to standardise the criteria with which to classify someone as an “Internet addict” or someone suffering from “Internet addiction disorder” or IAD, the most commonly used phrase in more recent research,” RiAus said, announcing the event.
It added that 73% of 13-17 year olds feel they are addicted to the internet, with 61% across all age groups believing they are addicted, leading to catastrophic effects.
“For example, in 2007, Daniel Petric (17), after having his Halo 3 game confiscated by his parents, stole his father’s handgun and shot his father and mother,” RiAus said.
“In 2011, Chris Staniforth (20) died from a blood clot after playing Xbox for 12 hours straight. However, the problem runs much deeper in society than these extreme cases.
“IAD is an addictive disorder as the changes seen in these studies mimic other addictive disorders such as gambling.
“IAD is a disorder which can have serious and potentially permanent effects on the adolescent brain. Imaging studies have indicated that those diagnosed with IAD have significantly different brain functionality and these changes are similar to other addictive disorders.”
It added that the syndrome has the potential to become an economic problem in society.
The event takes place in Sydney on 8 October.
Internet addiction image via Shutterstock