May 19th, 2011

1 in 25 teens addicted to Internet, study finds


One in every 25 teens had “problematic Internet use” in a new study of high school students from Connecticut.

What’s more, those students who reported an “irresistible urge” to be on the Internet and tension when they weren’t online were more likely to be depressed and aggressive and to use drugs than their peers.

However, it’s not clear that the obsessive computer use was causing the depression and related behaviors.

“It’s really hard to explain the link,” Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, a Stanford University researcher who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health.

“It often becomes a chicken and egg issue: are they online because they’re depressed or are they depressed because they’re spending inordinate amounts of time online?” explained Aboujaoude, the author of the book Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality.

The answer to that question, in turn, is critical for whether or not exaggerated Internet use should be considered a problem in its own right.

Led by Yale University’s Dr. Timothy Liu, the authors of the new study surveyed students at ten different high schools in Connecticut, asking more than 150 questions about health, risky behaviors, and impulsiveness—including seven questions on Internet use.

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