Psychiatrists in Singapore are pushing for medical authorities to formally recognise addiction to the Internet and digital devices as a disorder, joining other countries around the world in addressing a growing problem.
Singapore and Hong Kong top an Asia-Pacific region that boasts some of the world’s highest smartphone penetration rates, according to a 2013 report by media monitoring firm Nielsen.
Some 87 percent of Singapore’s 5.4 million population own smartphones as Internet-capable phones with cameras are popularly known….
Tan Hwee Sim, a consultant psychiatrist at The Resilienz Mind clinic in Singapore, noted that the symptoms exhibited by her young adult patients have changed over the years.
Obsession with online gaming was the main manifestation in the past, but addiction to social media and video downloading are now on the uptrend.
“Internet addiction as a disorder is not even listed in our latest psychiatric manual, it’s only listed in the appendix as a disorder that requires further study,” she said.
In terms of physical symptoms, more people are reporting “text neck” or “iNeck” pain, according to Tan Kian Hian, a consultant at the anaesthesiology department of Singapore General Hospital.
“It is a commonly observed phenomenon that many people have their heads lowered and are now using their mobile devices constantly on the go, while queuing or even crossing the roads,” Tan told AFP.