A group of scientists sponsored by Japan’s government recently found that a significant portion of Japanese youths are likely addicted to the Internet, which can cause health problems, including sleep disruptions and negative mental effects. A team of researchers, led by Professor Takashi Oida of Nihon University, distributed a survey to nearly 140,000 students across Japan to find out how they utilize the internet, and how it affects them. A total of about 98,000 student responses were retrieved, making for a substantial collection data.
Survey respondents were aged between 13 and 18. They revealed that 23.2 percent had difficulties falling asleep, and 15.6 percent woke up during the night. When asked what kind of Internet services they used, nearly 70 percent said they search for news and random information. Another 64.4 percent said they watch videos on YouTube, 62.5 percent indicated they send and receive emails, 33.4 percent said they check Facebook and Twitter, and 28.2 percent said they check blogs and message boards. Finally, about 20 percent said they use online games. (see Video Game Addiction)
Of the respondents, 8.1 percent were determined to be “addicted users.” Based upon the findings of this study, the Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry estimated that well over 500,000 students in schools across Japan suffer from internet addiction.
This was the first ever study conducted in Japan on Internet addiction among students in Japan. It is likely that more research will be done in the future, however the findings are not isolated just to Japan. Internet addiction is highly prevalent in the United States as well.
Internet Addiction also known as online addiction, computer addiction or internet addiction disorder (IAD), covers a variety of impulse-control problems, including “cybersex addiction,” “cyber-relationship addiction,” “net addiction,” and “information overload.” Not to mention, It can be closely intertwined with porn addiction.
The Internet is a useful tool, although like any tool it can be misused. Internet addiction is characterized by compulsive, excessive Internet use that interferes with daily life, work, and personal relationships. When online friends begin to replace real ones or the individual can’t stop using the net even when he has other responsibilities, he is potentially addicted. Returning back to the Internet even though there are negative consequences may be incentive for someone to take a look at their internet habits. Losing track of time online, isolating oneself from friends and family, becoming defensive or guilty about internet use and experiencing a sense of euphoria while using the internet are also signs of addiction.
Special challenges on the Internet include its relative anonymity and ease of access. It’s easy to spend hours on the Internet in the privacy of your own home, and engage in fantasies impossible in real life. Nowadays the internet is accessible virtually everywhere: At home, work and school as well as in cities, coffee shops, restaurants and via smartphones.
Much like drugs and alcohol, people turn to the internet to alleviate negative feelings or emotions such as anxiety, stress, loneliness and depression. It’s important to remember that there are healthier and more effective ways to keep these feelings in check, including exercising, breathing exercises, meditation and sensory relaxing strategies.
There are several risk factors for Internet addiction. If you suffer from other addictions, you are at higher risk. Also, if you suffer from anxiety or depression, have a lack of social support, are under a lot of stress, or are less mobile or socially active that you once were, you are at higher risk.
If you want to learn more about this topic, PLEASE check out this link: Activities on the Internet in a Day
“Internet & Computer Addiction.” Helpguide.org, n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2013. <http://www.helpguide.org/mental/internet_cybersex_addiction.htm>.
“Study: 8.1% of Japan Secondary School Students May Be ‘Internet Addicts’ | The Japan Times.” Japantimes.co.jp. Japan Times RSS, 1 Aug. 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2013.
Filed under: Addiction, Research · Tags: computer addiction, cyber-relationships, cybersex, information overload, internet addiction, internet addiction disorder, Japan, net addiction, online addiction, student, youth