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May 16, 2019

The Challenges of Defining and Studying “Digital Addiction” in Children

Author Affiliations
  • 1Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Editor, JAMA Pediatrics
JAMA. 2019;321(23):2277-2278. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.4690

In the 2013 edition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) (DSM-5) identified “internet gaming disorder” as “a condition in need of further study.”1 The World Health Organization recognized “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable condition in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision (ICD-11).2 The appellation—gaming disorder—is a misnomer because it does not include social media or nongaming applications. Still the emerging phenomenon of “digital addiction” represents a real and potential widespread problem that defies easy solutions or prevention strategies.

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