Just take the subway, get on a bus or attend a crowded club, to realize how much our eyes have gone down. Literally,we are kidnapped by our smartphones. Always connected, always busy, to the point of losing touch with reality. And an enormous amount of data flows into the free and rich world of the internet: everyone on the web is able to find what they love, hate, what can trigger a dependency mechanism. It happens with pornography, gambling and social networks.
In our center we have decided not to divide the dependencies into categories or in relation to how many things can be done on the internet. Starting from the patients’ clinic, we noticed that there are completely different diagnostic pictures between young people and adults. From the Latest Online news this is the best option available.
So is the registry that makes the difference?
Well, yes. The separation is clear between the digital natives, or teenagers who have never known a computer before, and adults. In the latter, there are clear signs of the pathological dependence that is divided between online gaming and pornographic sites. In fact, with patients who face these problems, we work on reducing connection hours and on what an addiction hides: a much deeper anxiety that begins to emerge with the gradual reduction of the internet.
And in young people?
Things change in young people and adolescents. The dysfunctional use of the internet is configured as a new way of thinking and communicating. After all, children relate to a different world than non-digital natives and have a particular perception of space and time.
What does this produce?
Determines the symptoms
In fact, in adolescents, the main signal is not the number of hours spent in front of the computer, but the social withdrawal that often leads to the decision to leave school. In the new generations there is clearly a different way of experiencing, or not living, emotions.
The web is a tool and as such amplifies everything: the phenomenon of bullying becomes cyber aggravating the consequences, because virtual relationships are very different from the real ones.
I’ll give you an example: two guys talk to each other on Skype, they are uninhibited, yet, while talking about sensitive topics for both, they can’t blush. All non-verbal communication that is expressed with the body is filtered, the emotion that, in real relationships, always passes through the body, sending a signal (which is the redness of the face, a grimace) is annulled. In the online the complete relationship is missing but is instead realized in the offline when there is physical contact between people.
What are the consequences of this gap between online and offline?
On the web, instincts are more exacerbated, aggression increases. The phenomenon of bullying becomes cyber and has more serious consequences. This is because teenagers give an enormous value to the visibility and experience of shame, which for young people is a real breakdown that brings out a personality capable of withstanding aggression or not.