The excessive or uncontrolled use of media can lead to addiction with consequential damage to health. It is often characterized by those affected compulsively spending an above-average amount of time with these media and online services. The following addictions, for example, fall under the collective term media addiction:
- Internet addiction: aimless internet use with a large time quota
Computer and online game addiction: excessive use of computer and online games
- Social network addiction: excessive use of social networks and electronic means of communication (e.g. chats and forums)
- Online gambling addiction: excessive use of gambling services on the internet
- Online shopping addiction: recurring compulsive buying behavior of consumer goods and services on the Internet
- Online sex addiction: excessive consumption of pornographic content on the internet
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies media addiction ("gaming disorder") as a behavioural addiction and has officially recognized computer and online gaming addiction as a disease. According to the WHO, the following three criteria must occur repeatedly over a period of 12 months for a person to be considered a computer game addict:
- Demonstrable loss of control over the frequency and duration of their own gaming,
- Clear prioritization of gaming in everyday life over other activities, hobbies, work, school and social contacts,
- Continued gambling even though negative consequences have already occurred.
These criteria are largely transferable to other forms of media and internet addiction. You can take a self-test of your Internet or computer game use here (German). Online media advisors (German) can also provide you with information on responsible media use and develop your online skills so that you can recognize possible signs of addiction at an early stage.
If you think that you or someone close to you is suffering from a media addiction, addiction counseling can help. Professional addiction counseling is confidential, offers addicted people solutions and accompanies the possible path out of addiction.