A non-governmental organization opinionated that excessive Internet users are more likely to develop mental disorders. One in four internet addicts is reportedly diagnosed with illnesses like autism or depression.
At the Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment, the youngest patient is just 10 years old. About 272 people who developed compulsive behavior from excessive computer and Internet using have been treated here. They were teenagers under 17 years old for the most part. They usually become obsessed with online games or pornography. Reportedly, one in 10 even refused to go to school, that’s how strong the addiction was.
Some older addicts, even people over 60 years old, developed gambling and online shopping obsessions. Because of this mania, they got into serious financial problems.
A serious case of online gaming obsession
This is the case of a 19-year-old boy who started playing Game Boy when he was just 14. As time passed he developed an obsession with online gaming. He was spending around five hours playing on the Internet during the week, and all day during holidays. Dr Elda Chan Mei-lo said that he established a stronger connection with the people he met in game than with his real life friends. He was also spending huge sums of money because he was buying some rare game cards. He came into the center two years ago seeking a solution for his problems. Now, he has been diagnosed with depression.
What studies are showing
According to 2014 study by the Department of Health, 51.7 per cent of young people between 15 and 24 are spending about 50 hours on the internet, during a week. As a comparison, in 2003, just 32.3 per cent of them were doing so. For those aged 10 to 14, the percent was 37.4, from 16.3 in 2003.
Scientists believe that now, this trend will grow bigger. The cause? Smartphones. Those devices have become an integrated part of our daily routine. People do not go anywhere without them. Consultant of student health service Dr Thomas Chung Wai-hung, says that:
“Spending too much time on the internet and electronic screen products may hinder the development of social skills in kids. It also leads to sleep deprivation which affects the growth and development of children and adolescents.”
Be active! Go outside!
The most obvious advice that anyone can give is to become more active. To go outside, to do sports, to exercise. You can also engage in social interactions. We must try to blend with the other people, by being part of some interactive activities. We need to live in the real life. All right, we agree that there are cases when you cannot go away from the computer (like work, for example) but this do should be done with regular breaks. It is better for our mental and physical health to do so.
As for the gambling problem, this should be treated as an illness. This does not only exist on the Internet, but also in the real life. So people who are developing such an obsession, can gamble even if they’re not online.
Image source: here