Study: Teens Dealing with Internet Addiction

Another addiction study has been released, with this one focusing on Internet addiction in teens who are facing depression, ADHD or other emotional issues.

According to a story on CNN’s Health.com site, researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital in Taiwan followed 2,293 seventh-grade students for two years and "found that ADHD and hostility were linked to Internet addiction in children in general. In girls, but not boys, depression and social phobia also predicted problems."

Boys were at a higher risk of Internet addiction than girls, and those who used the Internet for more than 20 hours a week, every day, or for online gaming, were at higher risk as well, the study said.

Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, said the study is not surprising. From the article:

"The study’s indication that children who are hyperactive or diagnosed ADHD are finding an outlet on the Web makes such perfect sense," he says, because those children crave the constant stimulation of fast-paced video games and interactive social networks. Kids with depression, anger issues, or social problems also turn to the Internet as therapy, adds Gilbert, who was not involved in the study. "They can take on an avatar or a different identity, and can contact other kids with the same problems and social inadequacies; they don’t have to function in conventional social ways."

There are some interesting pros and cons in the article, which goes a bit beyond the study itself. An interesting read, but begs the question: Is the Internet an addiction when it is a main source of communication and information delivery in this technological age?

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