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Parliament launches "addictive" technologies inquiry

Committee investigates how to "keep pace with the increasing digitisation and 'gamification' of people's lives"

British Parliament has announced an inquiry into the growth of "immersive and addictive technologies" such as virtual and augmented realities.

Led by members of parliament from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport committee, the Immersive and Addictive Technologies inquiry will also investigate areas such as esports, the connection between gaming and gambling, and social media addiction.

In an effort to deliver infrastructure, regulation and "keep pace with the increasing digitisation and 'gamification' of people's lives" the committee will scrutinise the impact of immersive technologies, with a particular focus on young people.

With a deadline of January 14, 2019, committee members are currently accepting written evidence from businesses, charities, and individuals.

"During our recent inquiries, the committee has heard repeated concerns about the impact to society of the increasing amounts of time that people spend immersed in online worlds, and the potentially addictive nature of social media and gaming," said committee chair Damian Collins.

"We want to explore these concerns during this inquiry and consider what the right response should be in setting public policy for the future."

Data from broadcasting authority Ofcom shows that in the UK, people check their smartphone every 12 minutes, and one in five people spend more than 40 hours a week online.

Spending on gaming in the UK rose 12.4% last year to hit a record £5.11 billion. Meanwhile, the esports industry is expected to generate £1 billion in worldwide revenue by 2020, with an audience of 600 million according to the British Esports Association,

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