Rising Digital Dependencies in the Czech Republic Prompt Calls for Skill-Building Rather Than Digital Detoxes

According to a recent report on digital dependencies in the Czech Republic for the year 2023, the number of individuals seeking professional help for addiction to video games, computers, or the internet has increased significantly. In the past five years alone, the number of people seeking assistance for digital dependency has risen to 354, compared to a mere 80 five years ago. While this growing concern is evident, psychologists are urging a shift in perspective when dealing with this issue.

Lukáš Blinka, a psychologist from the Institute for Psychological Research at Masaryk University, argues that focusing solely on measuring children’s time on digital devices is not an effective approach. As technology becomes an integral part of daily life, distinguishing between healthy usage and addiction becomes increasingly complex. Blinka emphasizes that it is impractical to resist this digital trend and believes that traditional methods like digital detoxes and technology breaks may not be effective in combating dependency. Instead, he advocates for building skills that enable individuals to navigate digital spaces effectively.

The common misconception that digital dependency predominantly affects children is debunked by Blinka. He asserts that people of all age groups, including adults and seniors, face equal risks of developing digital dependencies. Moreover, he highlights that digital dependency often arises from underlying mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.

Defining digital dependency is crucial to understanding its impact. It is characterized by a loss of control over digital usage, leading individuals to prioritize digital activities over essential functions like hygiene, sleep, and eating. This obsession can result in negative consequences such as social isolation, academic or work performance decline, and psychological issues like anxiety and depression.

While there is no specific time limit that defines digital dependency, individuals should be mindful of their digital habits if they negatively impact their lives. One of the key indicators of dependency is continuing with the activity despite being aware of its harmful effects.

While digital dependency is an increasing concern, it is essential to maintain perspective. The number of individuals experiencing long-term dependency is likely lower than estimated, with fewer than 1% of people in the Czech Republic facing this issue.

To address this growing problem, experts suggest focusing on underlying mental health issues as potential drivers of dependency. Additionally, promoting skill-building in managing digital spaces effectively can equip individuals with the tools to maintain a healthy relationship with technology.

In conclusion, as the digital world becomes an integral part of our lives, it is crucial to acknowledge both its benefits and potential risks. By fostering healthy habits and developing skills to navigate digital spaces responsibly, individuals can ensure that their digital lives remain enriching and rewarding rather than harmful and addictive.

Article by Prague Forum

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