Centre for Continuing Education

Internet and Mobile Phone Addiction Course: Psychopathology and Digital Technology

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Youths using mobile devicesThe Internet and related technologies have reconfigured every aspect of life, and mental health has not been immune to these changes. While the digital revolution has improved the lives of many by facilitating communication and allowing quick access to information, the same factors have contributed to the negative consequences of our interaction with digital technology. These include excessive use of the Internet (“Internet addiction”) and mobile phones (“mobile phone addiction”) and misuse of digital technology to play video games (“online gaming addiction”), satisfy abnormal or socially unacceptable sexual urges (“cybersex addiction” or “porn addiction”) and inflict harm (“cyberbullying”).

Developed and delivered by the Discipline of Psychiatry at Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, and open to the public. Continuing professional development courses are for health professionals. Psychoeducation courses are for everyone.

This one-day course is designed for psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and other health professionals who are interested in the ways in which digital technology has shaped aberrant behaviours and psychopathology. The negative effects of the digital revolution are increasingly seen in clinical practice and therefore, it is important to become familiar with them, understand them better and learn how they can be prevented and managed.


Mental health professionals need to understand how the digital revolution has changed the ways in which psychopathology manifests itself. A further objective of this course is to encourage a critical approach to the many unresolved issues and controversies surrounding the mental health consequences of our encounters with digital technology, including “Internet addiction”, “mobile phone addiction”, “online gaming addiction”, “cybersex addiction” and “cyberbullying”. Finally, the aim is to demonstrate what can be done to change unhelpful attitudes, prevent problems and help those who fail to negotiate safely the mental health challenges of the digital revolution.


Upon successful completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the problematic consequences of the interactions between humans and digital technology.
  2. Explain the factors contributing to the problematic consequences of the digital revolution.
  3. Critically appraise the effects of digital technology on various aspects of psychopathology.
  4. Apply to their clinical practice the knowledge about aberrant behaviours and psychopathology related to digital technology.
  5. Describe the basic prevention efforts and management related to aberrant behaviours and psychopathology arising in the context of the digital revolution.


This course will cover the following topics:

  • Problematic use of the Internet (“Internet addiction”) and mobile phones (“mobile phone addiction”).
  • Problematic use of online video games (“online gaming addiction”).
  • Repeated hostile or aggressive behaviour aiming to inflict harm through the Internet or mobile phones (“cyberbullying”).
  • Problematic use of the Internet for sexual gratification (“cybersex”, “cybersex addiction” or “porn addiction”).
  • Problematic online searches for health-related information (“cyberchondria”).
  • Use of the Internet to facilitate searches for suicide methods or promote suicide (“cybersuicide”).

Each topic will be presented thoroughly, including the description of the problematic behaviour or aspect of psychopathology, conceptualisation, key areas of controversy, prevalence, relationships with other psychopathology, consequences and the associated impairment in functioning, prevention and management approaches.

Delivery Style

This course will be delivered in a small group workshop format with a maximum of 20 participants. An emphasis will be on practical aspects and application of new knowledge. There will be many opportunities for participants to discuss issues and controversies related to aberrant behaviours and psychopathology arising in the context of the digital revolution. Participants will be given comprehensive course notes including reinforcing activity sheets to assist in consolidating learning.

Recommended Reading

Mental Health in the Digital Age: Grave Dangers, Great Promise
Editors: Elias Aboujaoude, Vladan Starcevic
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New York
Publication Date: 29 April 2015
9780199380183 (paperback)
9780199380206 (Kindle e-book)


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • The course was very informative and evidence based. I now have a greater understanding of how to approach digital psychopathology and how to better support clients' dealing with these problems.

$385 Limited inc GST
Internet and Mobile Phone Addiction Course: Psychopathology and Digital Technology

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