Experts debate Internet addiction at international event

Published 03.05.2016 23:48

More than 1,000 experts on technology addiction met in Istanbul on Tuesday to discuss modern-day dependency on the Internet and smartphones.

During the two-day congress, topics to be discussed will include compulsive Internet usage, video game and cellphone addictions, cyberbullying and cybersecurity.

The congress will present new perspectives and examine results taken from teachers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, academic, researchers and social services employees on various topics. Many distinguished specialists will also speak at the Congress, including Professor Mark Griffiths, Gary Wilson, Dr. Kenneth Woog, Mary Sharpe, Dr. Michael Rich, Darryl Mead, Young Yim Doh and Professor Kemal Sayar.

A study conducted last year by the Kaspersky Lab and B2B International revealed that 32 percent of parents in Turkey think they have no control over their children's online activities, while 46 percent of parents fear that their children's Internet browsing has become an addiction. However, parents generally do not want to devote time to finding a solution. Thirty-three percent of survey participants indicated that they fear their children might be addicted to the Internet and spend too much time on online platforms.

First Lady Emine Erdoğan addressed a crowd at the Third International Congress of Technology Addiction organized by the Turkish Green Crescent Society (Yeşilay), an anti-addiction group in Turkey.

"As of 2015, seven out of 10 houses in our country have an Internet connection and 97 percent of the households have mobile phones," Erdogan said. "Children began to use mobile phones at the age of 10 [in Turkey]. Nine out of every 10 children watch television every day," she added. Mrs. Erdoğan said Turkey faces the threat of "lost generations" if it does not take steps to fight technology addiction. "Parents and teachers should guide their children on the proper use of technology to prevent addiction," she stated. She noted that even though technology offers time-saving solutions, it has evolved into a threat as a "time-consuming" addiction.

Speaking at the same event, National Education Minister Nabi Avcı said online games and addiction also posed a risk for children as some games exploit violence, sexuality and a feeling of supremacy to keep children addicted. He underlined the importance of guiding people for proper use of technology, especially the Internet. Avcı also introduced his ministry's project, an educational social network that aims to reach out to school-age children with informative content. He described the Education, Informatics Network (EBA), an online social education platform, as the world's largest in the category, and said it offered short films, documentaries as well as more than 100 educational online games. He said that the platform had more than 12 million registered users.

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