Problematic Interactive Media Use

Problematic interactive media use (PIMU) is a behavioral syndrome characterized by compulsive use of, negative reactions to being removed from, and increasing tolerance to interactive screen media (e.g., video gaming, information- or video bingeing, social media, pornography), which impairs the individual’s physical, mental, cognitive, and/or social function. While uncontrolled use of screen media can cause problems at any age, children and adolescents are more likely than adults to develop PIMU due to still-developing executive brain function. Given the prevalence of screen media and mobile technology use by young people, it is important for parents, educators, and clinicians to recognize PIMU and its potential effects on the health and development of children and adolescents. This entry reviews the origins, diagnosis, psychological outcomes, and treatment of PIMU.


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