Hooked, an exhibition about addiction at Science Gallery in London

The new Science Gallery London at King’s College’s Guy’s campus opened its doors the 21th of September with Hooked, a multidisciplinary exhibit examining issues of addiction and recovery. Hooked analyses addiction as a fundamental risk of being a modern human and the addictive nature of new technology and social media. Leading voices on the science of addiction from King’s College London, including researchers from the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience (IoPPN), are featured into video installations, interactive artworks and immersive experiences. Visitors are asked to challenge the stigmas associated with addiction, consider addiction as a health issue and explore the different roads leading to recovery.    

Developed in association with people who have a lived experience of addiction, Hooked features established and up-and-coming artists and photographers from across the globe, including Rachel Maclean’s Feed Me, photographs from Olivia Locher’s Another Day on Earth series, Richard Billingham’s Tony Smoking Backwards, PlayStation and Jason Chopping, Melanie Manchot’s Twelve and Joachim Koester’s The Hashish Club.

“Addiction and recovery is a pressing issue that affects us all,” said Head of Programming Jen Wong “HOOKED explores this in an inclusive and socially engaged way, by weaving insights from art and science into a season that invites visitors to connect with provocative new ideas and consider their own attitudes towards addiction and addictive behaviors.”

“Hooked explores the issue of addiction in an engaging way, by weaving insights from art and science into a season that invites visitors to connect with provocative new ideas and consider their own attitudes towards addiction and addictive behaviors.”

HOOKED will run at the Science Gallery London from September 21 to January 6, 2019. For more information, visit london.sciencegallery.com

Join Scroll Free September

Scroll Free September is an initiative being run by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and being backed by the NHS . The Royal Society For Public Health , which is leading the campaign, expects tens of thousands of people from 56 different nations to quit the most popular social media apps for the month. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube will be off limits to all who are joining the month long digital detox.

The charity points to growing evidence of the negative impacts of social media in young people. Research from 2017 that inspired the campaign shows that anxiety and depression, negative body image, cyberbullying, poor sleep and FOMO (fear of missing out) are all affecting young people online.

There are five levels of challenge – Cold Turkey, Social Butterfly, Night Owl, Busy Bee and Sleeping Dog.

Cold Turkey is complete break from all social media for 30 days but if that is too much then you can choose Night Owl and take a break after 6pm.

Taking a break from social media at social events and actually taking to your friends is the challenge set by the Social Butterfly Level.

The Sleeping Dog means avoiding to check your social media accounts last thing before you go to bed and first thing in the morning.

Finally, the Bust Bee level is aimed at improving your productivity by logging off social media while in school or work.

Scientists link broadband internet access to sleep deprivation

People with a digital subscriber line (DSL) access tend to sleep 25 minutes less than those without DSL. These people are also less likely to get enough sleep (7 to 9 hours) or to feel satisfied with the quality of their sleep. According  researchers at Bocconi University, Italy, and the University of Pittsburgh, USA, who produced the findings, the effect may be explained by time constraints in the morning and by the use of electronic devices in the evening. Their use throughout the day doesn’t effect the quality of sleep

Researchers crisscrossed broadband access data in Germany to surveys where individuals reported their sleep duration and quality. In the past studies have analyzed the effects of broadband access on electoral outcomes, social capital, fertility and crimes. This is the first time that scientists have examined the causal effect of the access to high-speed Internet on sleeping behavior.

Poor sleep is a major public health hazard, which some scholars deem as the most prevalent risky behavior in modern society. In developed countries, this is an increasing problem as more and more people forgo the recommend 7-9 hours of sleep, exposing themselves to detrimental outcomes on health and cognitive performance. In Germany alone, 200,000 working days are lost each year due to insufficient sleep, translating in an economic loss of $60bln, or about 1.6% of the country’s GDP, according to a report of RAND Corporation.

The research team’s conclusion was that access to high-speed Internet reduces both sleep duration and sleep satisfaction in individuals that face time constraints in the morning for work or family reasons.

“Individuals with DSL access tend to sleep 25 minutes less than their counterparts without DSL Internet. They are significantly less likely to sleep between 7 and 9 hours, the amount recommended by the scientific community, and are less likely to be satisfied with their sleep,” said Francesco Billari, Professor of Demography at Bocconi University, Milan.

The increased use of electronic devices in the bedroom before sleep is considered one of the main factors contributing to the sleep deprivation epidemic and access to high-speed internet promotes excessive electronic media use.

“Taken together, our findings suggest that there may be substantial detrimental effects of broadband internet on sleep duration and quality through its effects on technology use near bedtime. High-speed Internet makes it very enticing to stay up later to play video games, surf the web and spend time online on social media. Given the growing awareness of the importance of sleep quantity and quality for our health and productivity, providing more information on the risks associated with technology use in the evening may promote healthier sleep and have non-negligible effects on individual welfare and well-being. More research is needed to understand the behavioral mechanisms underlying Internet addiction and how to nudge individuals into healthier sleep practices,” the researchers concluded in the Journal of Economic Behavior.