Internet Addiction: Is Your Teen at Risk?
Certain Psychiatric Conditions Make Teens More Prone to Internet Addiction, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 6, 2009 -- Kids with
ADHD, hostility, social
phobia, or depression may be more likely to
become addicted to the Internet, according to a new study.
Researchers in Taiwan examined the relationship between psychiatric symptoms
and Internet addiction in 2,162 junior high students over a period of two
years. About 11% of study participants were classified as having an
Internet addiction in the initial assessment.
Chih-Hung Ko, MD and colleagues from Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital
in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan found that being male, playing online games, and
using the Internet daily for more than 20 hours a week were risk factors for
Over the two-year follow-up, ADHD was the most significant
predictor, followed by hostility. For boys, hostility was the greatest
predictor, and for girls ADHD was the greatest predictor. Social phobia and
depression were predictors only in girls.
Online addiction can be destructive and should be taken seriously,
researchers say in their report. The addiction can hurt school performance,
family relationships, and adolescents' emotional state, according to background
information in the study.
"Identification of the risk factors for Internet addiction is therefore of
clinical significance for the prevention of, and early intervention into,
Internet addiction in adolescents," the researchers write. The study is
published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The
researchers also noted that gender differences should be taken into account
during future research about Internet addiction prevention.