Is ‘digital addiction’ a real threat to kids?

By | June 3, 2019
young boy holding tablet
(twinquinn84/Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons)

There’s a great deal of talk these days about “digital addiction.” But several experts from U-M say we should teach kids to think of screens as something to handle in moderation rather than something without any healthy place in our lives.

Ellen Selkie, an assistant professor of adolescent medicine, who does research on adolescents’ use of social media, said, “It’s like food, it’s something we all need because of the way businesses run, because of the job market — and for teens it’s the way they socialize.”

Jenny Radesky, an assistant professor of developmental behavioral pediatrics and an expert on technology use by children, said, “the main problem I see with calling problematic technology use a clinical ‘addiction’ is that it locates the illness or problem within the individual, rather than the digital environment that is shaping the individual’s behavior, often through methods that are intentionally exploitative or subconscious.”