Losing control – like 70% of young people according to the Ipsos / Macif barometer which is interested in the addictions of 16/30 year olds – is first of all, lose track of time. An example: we play a computer game, we are totally caught up. Then, we look at his watch, and we realize that we have been playing non-stop for 5 hours. This example is not too serious.
You have to start worrying when the loss of control starts either at impact daily life (we sleep little, we forget to eat, we miss school or work) either affect mental health (we no longer go out, we become very nervous and irritable, even depressive). When you tick several of these boxes, it’s time to consult an addiction specialist.
This survey concerns the generation of “Digital Natives”, who have always known the Internet and digital tools since 1995/2000. So we’re not just about teenagers in front of game consoles. Everyone is represented since the average age of console players is around 40 and you find as many women as men.
But we know that abusing video games or mobile phones at night also leads to an unbalanced sleep pattern, problems concentrating, fatigue… So less efficiency during the day. The latest technological innovations (smartphone games or virtual reality headsets) immerse you in a parallel world that cuts you off from the real world. The development of the Metaverse will not help, just like digital parallel worlds where you create an avatar and where you can evolve in a totally virtual universe.
This is a trend that will develop very strongly: Facebook, for example, has already invested 10 billion dollars in this universe this year and plans to have 1 billion users by 2030.
Confinements have aggravated the phenomenon
With the confinements, homeschooling and teleworking have been developed. You had 3% of French people working remotely. Today you have 25% of employees who are teleworking. It forces you to spend time in front of screens and creates new habits. Students or employees lose attachment with their college or high school classmates. This detachment is much more difficult to apprehend for 25/40 year olds. Among employees, we lose attachment to the brand and the company.
We see in the United States that many employees refuse to return to the office. We call it “the big quit”, the big resignation. In March, in America, 4.5 million employees have left their company because they didn’t want to come back to the office.
The pitfall of the digital world is that it doesn’t hurt productivity. Teleworking has improved the productivity of French employees by 5 to 10%. But, you have a possible health problem for occupational medicine because with digital tools you can work at any time, at your own pace. The problem is that you also very quickly lose the notion of the rhythm of life, of sleep and this can create long-term problems.