Media Addiction - SFU Sigmund Freud Private University Institute for Behavioral Addictions

Media Addiction — Phenomenology, Therapeutic and Preventive Approaches


• Addic­tion in gene­ral
• Media & Addic­tion
• Cau­ses or Sources
• Pre­ven­ti­on and Therapy


• Estab­li­shing social con­ta­cts
• Abi­li­ty to coope­ra­te and work in a team
• Trai­ning in reac­tion speed
• Trai­ning to focus atten­ti­on in games
• Expe­ri­ence of self-effi­cacy and autonomy

The spiral of addiction….

Media Addiction - the spiral of addiction - SFU Sigmund Freud Private University Institute for Behavioral Addictions

Addictive behavior as a problem-solving attempt

“Media addiction” as a collective term

Media — everyday life, fascination & addiction

Media Addiction - SFU Sigmund Freud Private University Institute for Behavioral Addictions


  • ICD-10 and DSM‑V do not con­tain any fixed cri­te­ria for beha­vio­ral addic­tions in general
  • Pos­si­bi­li­ty to clas­si­fy them as “habits and dis­or­ders of impul­se con­trol” (F. 63.8)
  • “Gaming dis­or­der” has been clas­si­fia­ble as a dise­a­se sin­ce mid-2018. Clas­si­fied in the ICD-11 in the field of men­tal, beha­vio­ral and neu­ro­de­ve­lo­p­men­tal disorders.
  • In the DSM‑5, the “Inter­net Gaming Dis­or­der” was recor­ded as an inde­pen­dent dis­or­der — “recom­men­ded for fur­ther investigations”

“Gaming Disorder” (ICD-11)

Usa­ge beha­vi­or cha­rac­te­ri­zed by

  1. decre­a­sed con­trol over beha­vi­or execution
  2. exces­si­ve impor­t­ance of play­ing, which dis­pla­ces other fiel­ds of inte­rest and ever­y­day activities
  3. con­ti­nued use des­pi­te asso­cia­ted nega­ti­ve con­se­quen­ces Sym­ptoms per­sist for a peri­od of 12 mon­ths. Dia­gno­sis can also be made ear­lier in jus­ti­fied cases.

“Internet Gaming Disorder” (preliminary criteria DSM‑5)

  1. Use of com­pu­ter games as domi­nant occupation
  2. With­dra­wal sym­ptoms when con­sump­ti­on is prevented
  3. Tole­ran­ce development
  4. Loss of control
  5. Loss of interest
  6. Con­ti­nua­tion of con­sump­ti­on des­pi­te nega­ti­ve consequences
  7. Con­ce­alm­ent of the extent of use
  8. Emo­ti­on regu­la­ti­on through the use of com­pu­ter games
  9. End­an­ge­ring important inter­per­so­nal relationships

For a dia­gno­sis to be made, at least 5 out of 9 cri­te­ria must have been met in the last 12 months.

Online content / behavior

• Online com­pu­ter games
• Online com­pu­ter games
• Aim­less sur­fing
• Online por­no­gra­phy
• Social media
• Online shop­ping
• Strea­ming / Vide­os
• Gathe­ring infor­ma­ti­on
• ….

Prevalence and Psychosocial Correlates of Internet Gaming Disorder

Stu­dy based on a repre­sen­ta­ti­ve sam­ple of 12 to 25 year olds Lutz Wart­berg, Leven­te Kris­ton, Rai­ner Thomasius

  • In the pri­ma­ry ana­ly­sis, the­re was a pre­va­lence esti­ma­te of 5.7% for Inter­net gaming dis­or­der in the age group of 12 to 25 year olds in Ger­ma­ny and in the sen­si­ti­vi­ty ana­ly­sis (with mul­ti­ple impu­ta­ti­ons mis­sing values) the pre­va­lence esti­ma­te rose to 7.0%.
  • Male respondents (8.4%) had a signi­fi­cant­ly hig­her pre­va­lence esti­ma­te for Inter­net gaming dis­or­der than fema­le respondents (2.9%).
  • Sta­tis­ti­cal­ly signi­fi­cant asso­cia­ti­ons were obser­ved bet­ween Inter­net gaming dis­or­der and male gen­der, lower age, hig­her levels of depres­si­on, hig­her levels of anxie­ty and more fre­quent neglect of social con­ta­cts due to the use of com­pu­ter games.


EISBERGMODELL-Sucht - SFU Sigmund Freud Private University Institute for Behavioral Addictions

Media and attrac­ti­ve­ness
• Affi­lia­ti­on
• Reco­gni­ti­on
• Obli­ga­ti­on
• Self-pre­sen­ta­ti­on

Virtual identity

Nick­na­me, ava­tars, characters

Vir­tu­al lifestyle

  • selec­ta­ble and changeable

Expe­ri­ment with identity

  • Nor­mal deve­lo­p­ment in adolescents
  • Peer group con­nec­tion and autonomy

It’s about …

  • Expe­ri­ence flow
  • enter­tain­ment
  • Imper­so­na­ti­on and play­ing with identity
  • Social con­ta­cts
  • Belon­ging and Recognition
  • Mood manage­ment
  • Satis­fac­tion of needs

Particularly at risk are people with

  • Affec­ti­ves and Anxie­ty Disorders
  • Depres­si­on
  • Atten­ti­on defi­cit hyper­ac­ti­vi­ty dis­or­der (ADHD)
  • exces­si­ve neu­ro­ti­cism (i.e. high anxie­ty, exces­si­ve sus­cep­ti­bi­li­ty to stress, nega­ti­ve self-image)
  • signi­fi­cant­ly redu­ced extra­ver­si­on (strong ten­den­ci­es to with­draw and high social vulnerability)

“Media addiction” and prevention — in particular

Media as …

  • Immo­bi­li­zer
  • Emo­ti­on regulator
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on substitute

“We don’t need to rai­se our child­ren, they imi­ta­te ever­ything we do any­way.“
Karl Valen­tin

Media Use <> Media Consumption

Experienced risks in children and adolescents

Experienced-risks-in-children-and-adolescents - Siegmund Freud Private University Institute for Behavioral Addictions

Accord­ing to this, “46 per­cent of 8 to 14 year olds have a cell pho­ne or smart­pho­ne with them all day, 38 per­cent have the device wit­hin reach for at least half of the day. 64 per­cent of child­ren and ado­lescents have a mobi­le device with Inter­net access, while the figu­re for 13 and 14 year olds is alrea­dy 86 per­cent. More than a fifth of all child­ren and ado­lescents bet­ween the ages of 8 and 14 have a “very strong bond” to their smart­pho­ne or cell pho­ne. About 8 per­cent attes­ted the rese­ar­chers a kind of addic­tion risk. The most important app­li­ca­ti­on is the Whats­App instant mes­sen­ger. 72 per­cent of 8 to 14 year olds sta­ted that they use this app several times a day. 32 per­cent check their Face­book page once a day. ”

“With incre­a­sing age, the cell pho­ne beco­mes more rele­vant and a part of the peop­le themselves”.

“The fear of mis­sing out on some­thing important encou­ra­ges young peop­le to use online app­li­ca­ti­ons in an often uncon­trol­led and ris­ky manner.”

“Dr. Karin Knop from the Insti­tu­te for Media and Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on Stu­dies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mann­heim repor­ted that 15 per­cent of the par­ents sur­vey­ed refrai­ned from any cell pho­ne edu­ca­ti­on. Most­ly, media edu­ca­ti­on in fami­lies is limi­ted to pro­hi­bi­ti­ons or maxi­mum limits for smart­pho­ne use. Acti­ve upbrin­ging rare­ly takes place. …

Knop exp­lai­ned that it is not only expli­cit edu­ca­tio­nal mea­su­res that deter­mi­ne how ado­lescents deal with mobi­le Inter­net use, but also the par­ents’ media use and the qua­li­ty of the rela­ti­ons­hip bet­ween them and the child­ren. “Inse­cu­re ties can lead to ris­kier use,” war­ned the media scientist. …

Only tho­se who oppo­se the always-online trend with a trus­ting rela­ti­ons­hip can posi­tively influ­ence the per­so­na­li­ty deve­lo­p­ment of young peop­le in the sen­se that self-con­trol and the abi­li­ty to reflect on smart­pho­nes con­tri­bu­te to sen­si­ble use. ”

Source: Always online and yet alo­ne? LfM sym­po­si­um: How child­ren and young peop­le use the smart­pho­ne
01.10.2015, Düs­sel­dorf

“Media Addiction” and Prevention — In General

Development of the child from 0 to 6 years

bin­ding“It is good to be.”(0–15 mon­ths)
Explo­ra­ti­on“It is good to explore.”(15 — 30 months)
iden­ti­ty“It’s good to be you.”(30 — 48 months)
com­pe­tence“It’s good to be strong.”(48 — 72 months)

Children and …

  • Self-con­fi­dence
  • Respon­si­bi­li­ty and obligations
  • Limits and rules
  • Disap­point­ments and failures
  • Con­flicts
  • Fee­lings and needs
  • Crea­ti­vi­ty and imagination

Therapeutic approaches

  1. Cla­ri­fi­ca­ti­on of motivation
  2. Recon­struc­tion of media and addic­tion beha­vi­or. What is the signi­fi­can­ce of the beha­vi­or for the per­son concerned?
  3. Distancing yourself from the addic­ti­ve medi­um. Deve­lo­p­ment of inde­pen­dent ways of social control.
  4. Risk pre­ven­ti­on and rel­ap­se management
  5. Invol­ve­ment of relatives.
  6. Groups (rela­ti­ves, affec­ted persons)

Ways out

In order to be able to get well, the per­son con­cer­ned must be able to access his injuries.

Redis­co­very and awa­reness of your own needs and abilities.

The addic­ti­ve beha­vi­or is perhaps com­pa­ra­ble to a crut­ch for a stres­sed leg! The crut­ch wea­kens the con­sti­tu­ti­on of the leg over time. Wal­king and stan­ding are no lon­ger pos­si­ble without them.

The­ra­py is about under­stan­ding the func­tion of the crut­ch as well as unco­vering the inju­ry, pain or weak­ness in the leg — and healing it.

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