Internet Gaming Dependence

I began studying more about technology addiction after coming to Hong Kong and having an increasing number of clients, coming with technology related issues.

Research published in Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (2013) reports that in Hong Kong 94% of adolescents use video and internet games, out of which 22.5% meets the criteria for internet addiction.

When internet and gaming becomes a problem?

Clinicians define Internet Gaming Disorder as a compulsive behaviour that interferes with normal living personal, social and academic/work areas.

It is characterised by: increasing tolerance (need to play more and more), withdrawal symptoms (agitation, tantrums, anxiety, depression), compulsive use and inability to control

DSM-V criteria include:

1.Preoccupation or obsession with Internet games.
2.Withdrawal symptoms when not playing Internet games.
3.A build-up of tolerance–more time needs to be spent playing the games.
4.The person has tried to stop or curb playing Internet games, but has failed to do so.
5.The person has had a loss of interest in other life activities, such as hobbies.
6.A person has had continued overuse of Internet games even with the knowledge of
how much they impact a person’s life.
7.The person lied to others about his or her Internet game usage.
8.The person uses Internet games to relieve anxiety or guilt–it’s a way to escape.
9.The person has lost or put at risk and opportunity or relationship because of Internet


Internet and gaming are often being used as “security blanket” to avoid pressure and unhappy situations.

Talking about teens, there are a few crucial factors here, namely: need for belonging, to be in contact with friends and need for measurable achievements.


On the contrary to drug addictions, technology is a part of our everyday live and cannot be eliminated.

Therefore therapy needs to be multidimensional, ideally both on individual and family levels.

The first step is to help a person to become aware of destructive patterns and his/her triggers… Then collaborative work to develop healthy habits and practive of delayed gratification

Also work on coping skills and social issues – communication with peers and family. Development of positive lifestyles and ability to build friendships.


Contact me for workshops and individual therapy for your son or daughter!