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Children Hooked On Gadgets May Have ‘Internet-Use Disorder’

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File photo of a child using a tablet. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

File photo of a child using a tablet. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – Research indicates that children who seem addicted to electronic gadgets such as smartphones and tablets could be suffering from what is being called “Internet-use disorder.”

Seen as a symptom of what has been referred to as an “always on” atmosphere, psychologists in Australia have asserted that children who are unnaturally tied to their technology and toys experience the same feelings of withdrawal as those suffering from other forms of addiction when denied access.

Those symptoms reportedly include irritability, lack of concentration and emotional shutdown, several doctors told the Sydney Morning Herald.

One concerned parent, Kara Wright of Caloundra in Queensland, Australia, told the paper that her son, Jack, exhibited such behavior when he was forbidden from using the computer.

“It is only when he is using technology that those emotions [of frustration and anger] emerge,” Wright was quoted as saying about the 12-year-old child, adding that the experience may sometimes even reduce him to tears. “It had a huge impact on the family.”

In light of this and countless other incidents like it, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has reportedly decided to add Internet-use disorder to its list of conditions that merit further study.

The revision is expected to appear in the newest edition of the book, which will come out in May 2013.

Mike Kyrios, a professor at the Swinburne University of Technology, is one of the driving forces behind the amendment, according to the Herald.

“With kids, gaming is an obvious issue,” he was quoted as saying. “But overall, technology use could be a potential problem.”

Psychologist Emil Hodzic, who founded a video game addiction treatment clinic in Sydney, has also seen alarming trends in the necessity for technology exhibited in youth culture.

“The most typical sign of addiction is anything that looks like withdrawal symptoms,” he said, adding to the Herald that approximately 70 percent of his clients were children or teenagers. The children express “distress, frustration, irritability when they don’t get to play.”

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