Drugs are not the only addiction of the 21st century. As technology improves, it has also created avenues for new dependencies to arise.
At the Vatican, dozens of experts have exposed the wounds left by gambling and other addictions.
Noriko Tanaka explains that in Japan gambling is very difficult to combat because families rarely reach out to specialists. There is shame associated with acknowledging the downfalls of a family member. The expert says that in her country, gambling addiction affect 3.6 percent of the population, meaning roughly 3.2 million people.
Society Concerned About Gambling Addiction (Japan)
“Japan has very loose regulations when it comes to gambling. The Japanese government has not made any real steps in addressing gambling addiction in the country. This is a disease that makes people hate themselves and feel deeply ashamed.”
The other big question the Vatican congress confronted was the dependency of internet porn. For over 20 years, Peter Kleponis has been studying how the technological revolution has impacted people's sexual behavior.
PETER C. KLEPONIS
Institute for Marital Healing (United States)
“We're now finding that it is an addictive substance, and this is coming from the neuroscience community where they compared brain scans from drug addicts with sex addicts and they both are identical. Well, there is actually a study of two years ago on that. What we found is that over 50 percent of men in the United States look at pornography at least once a month, about 40 percent actually look at it several times a week. So this is a major problem in our country and it is not just a men issue anymore. Women are viewing pornography at much greater rates. We know that a third of all visitors to pornographic websites are women.”
Behind these addictions hides a giant business. According to Kleponis, pornography produces 100 billion dollars a year worldwide. The business of gambling makes much more. According to the consulting firm H2 Gambling Capital, gambling moved about 196.2 billion dollars in 2017 in the United States alone.