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mini_digitalnizavislost.jpgDigital addiction, also known as netolism, is a phenomenon characterized by excessive and uncontrolled use of digital devices and the internet. This issue is becoming increasingly common across all age groups. This article focuses on defining digital addiction, its symptoms, impacts on different groups of people, and strategies for preventing and managing this problem.

What is digital addiction?

Digital addiction is a condition where individuals spend an excessive amount of time on digital devices such as smartphones, computers, tablets, and gaming consoles, often at the expense of their daily responsibilities and social interactions. This addiction can take various forms, including addiction to social media, online games, watching videos, or continuous web browsing.

However, it is important to note that true addiction only occurs when the overuse of technology begins to have a genuinely negative impact on our lives. The time users spend with technology is just one of the criteria. There are many children and adults who spend a considerable amount of time with technology without it negatively affecting their lives (school, friends, work, etc.).

Symptoms of digital addiction

Symptoms of digital addiction often manifest as loss of control over the use of digital devices. This means spending much more time online than initially planned and struggling to limit this time. This excessive time spent on the internet can lead to neglect of important daily responsibilities such as work, school, family activities, and personal care. People addicted to technology often feel a strong desire or compulsion to be constantly online, even in inappropriate or dangerous situations, such as while driving or during social gatherings.

Another symptom of digital addiction is alienation from regular social interactions and interests. These individuals often lose interest in activities they previously found enjoyable and meaningful, preferring to spend time in the digital world. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Physical symptoms such as sleep disorders, fatigue, headaches, and eye strain are also common, as long periods of screen time negatively affect health. These issues can be accompanied by psychological difficulties such as anxiety and depression, caused by the constant pressure to be connected and available online. These symptoms can significantly impact the quality of life and require careful attention and resolution.


Real stories of addicted children

The story of a 16-year-old boy with ADHD and depression
Dr. Anderson from the Child Mind Institute describes the case of a 16-year-old boy whose mother was convinced he was addicted to video games, specifically Call of Duty. The boy spent most of his time playing this game, making it very difficult to tear him away from it, even for therapy sessions. Upon further examination, it was found that the boy had ADHD and depression, which led to his video game addiction as an escape from reality. After starting treatment for ADHD and depression, the boy's condition improved, he became more involved in school activities, his grades improved, and he even joined the soccer team. This case shows that sometimes internet addiction can mask deeper psychological problems.

A case from England: Lisa and her son Ryan
Lisa from the Midlands contacted the National Centre for Gaming Disorders in England about her 14-year-old son Ryan, who had become addicted to playing video games. Ryan spent up to 14 hours a day playing games, leading to problems with aggression and poor family relationships. Lisa attended six sessions with a psychologist and individual consultations, which improved both her mental health and her relationship with Ryan. This case shows the importance of professional help in managing gaming addiction and family support.

A case from the USA: Jason
Jason, a 14-year-old boy from California, became addicted to playing online games during the COVID-19 pandemic. His parents noticed that he spent up to 16 hours a day playing games like Fortnite and Minecraft, which led to a significant decline in his academic performance and social relationships. Jason began skipping family dinners, became more irritable, and even started avoiding his friends. His parents decided to seek help from an addiction specialist therapist, who helped them implement a structured daily routine and screen time limits. Gradually, Jason's condition began to improve, he started engaging in his interests outside the digital world again, and his academic performance began to improve.

A case from South Korea: Momo
In South Korea, where internet addiction is considered a serious public health issue, 16-year-old Momo was admitted to therapy for her extreme internet addiction. Momo spent most of her time on social media and playing online games, leading her to neglect food, sleep, and her studies. Her parents expressed concerns about her safety and health, which led them to seek professional help. In therapy, Momo gradually began to share her feelings, and the therapist helped her find a balance between online and offline activities. This case highlights the need for early intervention and professional support in managing internet addiction.

Impacts of digital addiction on different groups

Digital addiction has significant and often severe impacts on children. Children who spend an excessive amount of time on digital devices may face many challenges, including learning problems, social isolation, and an increased risk of cyberbullying. For example, children addicted to games or social media often neglect their school duties, leading to poorer academic performance. Additionally, prolonged screen time can lead to physical problems such as sleep disorders, fatigue, and eye strain. Socially isolated children may also have trouble building and maintaining real relationships, which can negatively affect their emotional and social development.

For adults, digital addiction has similarly negative impacts, though they manifest differently. Many adults may experience reduced work performance due to netolism, as they are often distracted by online activities, leading to missed deadlines and decreased productivity. Adults addicted to digital technologies may also neglect their family and social responsibilities, leading to relationship problems and social isolation. Moreover, the constant stress associated with online life and being constantly connected can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. This phenomenon shows that digital addiction is not just a problem for children and adolescents but also affects adults and their ability to lead a balanced and healthy life.

Prevention and management of digital addiction

Preventing digital addiction requires a combination of personal and societal measures. A key step is to set specific time limits for using digital devices, which helps maintain a balance between online and offline activities. Education and awareness are other important aspects of prevention; informing people about the risks of digital addiction and providing tools to recognize it can significantly contribute to prevention. Encouraging interests and activities that do not require digital technology, such as sports, reading, and social gatherings, can also help minimize time spent online. In severe cases of digital addiction, it is essential to seek professional help. Psychologists and therapists specializing in addiction can provide the necessary support and strategies for managing this addiction. It is important for communities and families to work together to create a healthy digital environment that promotes healthy habits and reduces the risk of addiction.


Digital addiction is a complex problem that requires a combination of personal, family, and societal measures to manage. Prevention and education are key elements in combating this modern phenomenon. Understanding and proactive approaches to this problem can help minimize its negative impacts on individuals and society as a whole.

For E-Bezpečí
Kamil Kopecký
Palacký Univerdsity in Olomouc


Jak citovat tento text:
KOPECKÝ, Kamil. Digitální závislost: Fenomén současnosti (2). E-Bezpečí, roč. 9 (2024), č. 1, s. 101-106. ISSN 2571-1679. Dostupné z: https://www.e-bezpeci.cz/index.php?view=article&id=4070


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