Adicciones. 2018 Jan 1;30(1):19-32. doi: 10.20882/adicciones.806.
[Article in English, Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]
Use/abuse of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) has in recent years become a topic of great interest. Current discussion addresses whether it must be considered addictive behaviour and if it is a problem that primarily affects adolescents and youth. This study aims to understand the problems that affect people of all ages in controlling the use of these ICTs and whether they are related to mental health problems, stress and difficulties in executive control of behaviour. A survey was administered through social networks and email, using the MULTICAGE-ICT, a questionnaire that explores problems in the use of Internet, mobile phones, video games, instant messaging and social networks. Additionally, the Prefrontal Symptom Inventory, General Health Questionnaire and Perceived Stress Scale were administered. The sample was comprised of 1,276 individuals of all ages from different Spanish-speaking countries. The results indicate that about 50% of the sample, regardless of age or other variables, presents significant problems with the use of these technologies, and that these problems are directly related to symptoms of poor prefrontal functioning, stress and mental health problems. The results reveal the need for reconsidering whether we are facing an addictive behaviour or a new problem demanding environmental, psychological, sociological and sociopolitical explanations; therefore, it is necessary to reformulate actions to be implemented to address and refocus our understanding of the problem.