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Considering existing classic and contemporary proposals for preventing online addiction problems: Some old recipes for new problems
Commentary on: Problematic risk-taking involving emerging technologies: A stakeholder framework to minimize harms (Swanton et al., 2019)
This commentary examines the proposed framework in relation to current policy options and preventive strategies and adds classical prevention and ecological models to tackle internet use-related addiction problems. Specifically, it highlights the preventive developments regarding contributions to promote the healthy use of technologies, and the need of designing and testing prevention strategies targeting the incidence, prevalence and severity of these problems at all population levels. In summary, to start preventing and minimising harms due to the problematic and addictive use of emerging technologies, we already have old models we can apply to these new problems to ensure secure behaviours through the technologies, and enhance users' wellness and quality of life.
What the grey literature can contribute to addictive behaviour disorder classification •
Commentary to the debate: “Behavioral addictions in the ICD-11”
This commentary examines the proposal made by Brand et al. (2022) regarding a framework outlining relevant criteria for considering possible behavioural addictions within the current World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) category of ‘other specified disorders due to addictive behaviours’. We agree with the framework as it highlights the clinical perspective requiring agreed-upon classifications and criteria to produce effective diagnostic procedures and efficacious treatments. Additionally, we propose to add the need of recognising potential addictive behaviour through the inclusion of a fourth meta-level criterion: ‘grey literature evidence’. Utilising non-academic evidence can provide validity in the social context where the behaviour takes place, and it can support authorities in taking action to prevent and treat the resultant behavioural problems. The inclusion of the proposed fourth criterion will aid comprehensibility of the current proposal and provide clarity, as indicated in the present commentary, which includes the fourth criterion analysis for problematic pornography use, shopping/buying and social networking site use.
Background and aims
Gaming applications have become one of the main entertainment features on smartphones, and this could be potentially problematic in terms of dangerous, prohibited, and dependent use among a minority of individuals. A cross-national study was conducted in Belgium and Finland. The aim was to examine the relationship between gaming on smartphones and self-perceived problematic smartphone use via an online survey to ascertain potential predictors.
The Short Version of the Problematic Mobile Phone Use Questionnaire (PMPUQ-SV) was administered to a sample comprising 899 participants (30% male; age range: 18–67 years).
Good validity and adequate reliability were confirmed regarding the PMPUQ-SV, especially the dependence subscale, but low prevalence rates were reported in both countries using the scale. Regression analysis showed that downloading, using Facebook, and being stressed contributed to problematic smartphone use. Anxiety emerged as predictor for dependence. Mobile games were used by one-third of the respective populations, but their use did not predict problematic smartphone use. Very few cross-cultural differences were found in relation to gaming through smartphones.
Findings suggest mobile gaming does not appear to be problematic in Belgium and Finland.
Problematic gaming exists and is an example of disordered gaming
Commentary on: Scholars’ open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal (Aarseth et al.)
The recent paper by Aarseth et al. (2016) questioned whether problematic gaming should be considered a new disorder particularly because “Gaming Disorder” (GD) has been identified as a disorder to be included in the next (11th) revision of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).
This study uses contemporary literature to argue why GD should be included in the ICD-11.
Aarseth and colleagues acknowledge that there is much literature (including papers by some of the authors themselves) that some individuals experience serious problems with video gaming. How can such an activity be seriously problematic yet not disordered? Similar to other addictions, gaming addiction is relatively rare and is in essence a syndrome (i.e., a condition or disorder characterized by a set of associated symptoms that tend to occur under specific circumstances). Consequently, not everyone will exhibit exactly the same set of symptoms and consequences, and this partly explains why those working in the problematic gaming field often disagree on symptomatology.
Research into gaming is not about pathologizing healthy entertainment, but about pathologizing excessive and problematic behaviors that cause significant psychological distress and impairment in an individual’s life. These are two related, but (ultimately) very distinct phenomena. While being aware that gaming is a pastime activity which is enjoyed non-problematically by many millions of individuals worldwide, it is concluded that problematic gaming exists and that it is an example of disordered gaming.
Background and aims
Despite many positive benefits, mobile phone use can be associated with harmful and detrimental behaviors. The aim of this study was twofold: to examine (a) cross-cultural patterns of perceived dependence on mobile phones in ten European countries, first, grouped in four different regions (North: Finland and UK; South: Spain and Italy; East: Hungary and Poland; West: France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland), and second by country, and (b) how socio-demographics, geographic differences, mobile phone usage patterns, and associated activities predicted this perceived dependence.
A sample of 2,775 young adults (aged 18–29 years) were recruited in different European Universities who participated in an online survey. Measures included socio-demographic variables, patterns of mobile phone use, and the dependence subscale of a short version of the Problematic Mobile Phone Use Questionnaire (PMPUQ; Billieux, Van der Linden, & Rochat, 2008).
The young adults from the Northern and Southern regions reported the heaviest use of mobile phones, whereas perceived dependence was less prevalent in the Eastern region. However, the proportion of highly dependent mobile phone users was more elevated in Belgium, UK, and France. Regression analysis identified several risk factors for increased scores on the PMPUQ dependence subscale, namely using mobile phones daily, being female, engaging in social networking, playing video games, shopping and viewing TV shows through the Internet, chatting and messaging, and using mobile phones for downloading-related activities.
Discussion and conclusions
Self-reported dependence on mobile phone use is influenced by frequency and specific application usage.