August-September 2018

Technology is here to stay, says DR QURATULAIN ZAIDI. So, we have to learn to manage how we engage with it – and how our children engage with it. R ecently, on a panel discussion at a parenting conference, I was asked by a mother from the audience, “Can an 18-month baby be addicted to screens?” It was shocking to hear that for myself as a parent and a psychologist, and for almost everyone in the room. Yet, it’s a problem that is becoming far more prevalent.

“internet addiction disorder” is yet to be officially established; it’s listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a disorder that needs more research. In general, internet addiction disorder (sometimes referred to as problematic internet use or pathological internet use) can be subdivided into varying categories. Among the most commonly identified of these are: • gaming; • social networking;

There are two established organisations that classify mental disorders: the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association. Classification of addiction has to meet certain criteria before it’s considered pathological behaviour, and this has to be backed up with validated research. In January 2018, “video gaming addiction” was listed by WHO as a disorder. At the same time, a standardised diagnosis of

• emailing; • blogging; • online shopping; and • inappropriate internet pornography use.

“Even though we are cyber immigrants and our children are cyber citizens, the same parenting rules apply.”

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