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Scarlett O'Donoghue 

Study: We think tech addiction is comparable to drug abuse

Study: We think tech addiction is comparable to drug abuse

More than a third (41%) of Brits think technology addiction is comparable to alcohol or substance abuse, according to new research from the7stars.

The findings show how 67% of 18-34 year olds admitted to needing a 'break' from technology - a figure that increased to 71% within the younger age group of 18-24 year olds.

However, these groups were found the least likely to do something about it; the desire from young people to stay connected appears to outweigh the need to switch off, with only 6% of 25-34 year olds actively turning their phones off during the evenings or at the weekend.

Meanwhile, 64% of 25-34 year olds say they like being connected all the time, with 74% agreeing that time spent on their phone doesn't have to be dead time.

However, 3 in 4 Londoners still claim to worry that they are losing the art of face to face conversation and interactions.

"Technology brings with it distinct advantages but it's clear Brits have a hard time prying themselves away from their smartphones - even when they feel they really need to," said Frances Revel, the7stars.

"In an increasingly digital world, attention has become a valuable commodity, but it's clear the balance may need to be restored with users needing to feel more in control of their tech habits."

Many tech companies have already started to help consumers 'detox digitally', urging them to develop more healthy relationships between the amount of time spent in the digital world, and that spent connecting to people off-screen.

"There's still time for more tech brands to follow suit and encourage digital wellness, which must be a priority moving forward," Revel added.

Today's news comes after leading neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield recently told The Daily Telegraph that social media is going to leave today's youth with the behavioural habits of three-year-olds: emotional and risk-taking, with poor social skills, weak self-identity and short attention spans.

Pressure has therefore been mounting against platforms such as Facebook to take action; earlier this month, fifty US psychologists penned an open letter to the American Psychological Association, denouncing the "unethical practice" of using manipulation techniques to hook children on social media.

Thus far, Facebook and Instagram have responded to concerns by releasing new features designed to aid "digital wellness", allowing users for the first time to see how long they've been scrolling and set time limits.

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JohnKriger, President, Kriger Consulting Inc on 24 Aug 2018
“Your premise is entirely consistent with the content of my book, Turned On and Tuned Out: Uunderstanding and Managing Tech Dependence. As an addiction is specialist I examined the use of technology and compared it to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual 4th, and now 5th edition, showing a direct correlation between the criteria and current use patterns.”