Are young people becoming addicted to the internet?

internet addictionTeenagers around the northern hemisphere are coming to the end of their summer holidays. The credit crunch, working parents and other factors will have meant that many of them will have been stuck at home for much of their time off school. And lots of them will have been on the internet. For hour after hour. Some parents feel that it’s safe – they’re at home and all is well. Others are concerned about over-use of the internet. At 1230 GMT this Saturday, Newshour will be asking whether this concern is justified.

In China and Korea, parents have been sending their children to clinics to cure them of what they see as internet addiction. In one tragic case earlier this month, a young boy was beaten to death at one of these institutions. Another boy has been seriously injured. That was treatment taken to extremes. But should efforts be made to reduce the time children spend on line? And, in some cases, is treatment necessary? Or is it the parents who need to change their ways?

25 Responses to “Are young people becoming addicted to the internet?”

  1. 1 scmehta
    August 21, 2009 at 14:03

    Where there is proper parental guidance, the chance of getting addicted to the internet is remote.

  2. 2 Liew Kevin from Malaysia
    August 21, 2009 at 14:38

    I believe that there are many young people who are addicted to the internet, and that it is a concern.
    Whether it’s facebook, twitter, youtube or on other sites, young people can spend many hours on end on these sites.

    From where I come from, there are approximately 10 cyber cafes; some with over 200 computers, within a 500m radius. These cyber cafes are mainly targeted towards college students as there are three colleges within the area, with a student population of over 7 000 people.

    Efforts should be made to reduce the time children spend on line; only if it is an “addiction”.
    There should not be any worry about young people who can discipline themselves, limiting their time on line, or knowing their priorities.

  3. 3 Jennifer
    August 21, 2009 at 14:50

    I don’t think young people are becoming addicted to the internet; more like technology as a whole. Cell phones, video games, digital cameras, ipods, GPS systems….The internet; like everything else is a useful tool. However, you have to set limits. Not everyone can or wants to do that. Children need other things to do with their time. It’s up to parents to ensure that their kids don’t spend too much time online and to know what their children are doing online.

    “Training camps” seem extreme to me. Where were these parents when these children were spending so many hours online? Doing the same or not caring what their kids were doing as long as they were out of their hair?

  4. 4 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    August 21, 2009 at 15:08

    I asked my 20 year-old daughter if she thinks young people are becoming addicted to the internet. She unhesitatingly replied, “Many of them are.” She has a commercial degree which includes computer science, and while she herself is in no danger of becoming addicted, she reported that a number of her acquaintances increasingly plan their social lives around the net.

    It isn’t good enough to state that with parental guidance and oversight children will not become addicted, as this kind of addiction grows over time. By the time it becomes a real problem, chances are that the “child” will have become an adult in the meantime.

    I myself am not unduly worried about the problem of internet addiction. The net is relatively new, it’s growing and changing all the time, and young people want to be a part of that growth and change. What could be more natural? A certain percentage of humankind are addictive personalities who will become addicted to something during their lifetimes. I can think of many addictions that are much worse than spending too much time in cyberspace.

  5. 5 patti in cape coral
    August 21, 2009 at 15:13

    I have not actually witnessed young people addicted to the internet, even though I know this is a problem. I have seen the use of the internet increase because it is so versatile. Besides the social network sites, there is help with homework, research, video games, TV shows, movies, chatting, blogging, news, music, radio, books, even sites that rate teacher performance, etc. The internet is replacing a lot of the things that used to be done by phone, TV, movie theaters, radio, libraries, play station, and what not. As internet is not free, it seems smart to use it to to its limit, but obviously and as always, parents be vigilant!

  6. 6 Garrett- Portland, OR
    August 21, 2009 at 15:26

    I think parents should be more open about thier children using the Internet. The benifiets of having so much acess to information far outwieghs the negatives. As someone who was part of the first generation to have grown up on the web, I feel that I have a very healthy connection with the rest of society. Using facebook And Twitter should be viewed as a modern way of social interaction.
    However, Internet addiction is a problem if it negatively impacts the physical or mental health of the person.

  7. 7 deryck/trinidad
    August 21, 2009 at 15:38

    Forget teenagers, I’m addicted and it’s such a rush!

  8. 8 Anthony
    August 21, 2009 at 15:42

    Ummmm, where have you people been? Of course they are! I’m 28 and will sometimes hang out with my little brothers and their friends who are 17 and 20, and yes they are. I can’t believe this is even a question, they obviously are.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  9. 9 Rob (UK)
    August 21, 2009 at 15:54

    Teenagers are addicted to communicating with their friends, as are we all. Why should chatting via the web be pathological while using a phone is healthy?

  10. August 21, 2009 at 16:17

    I am equally addicted, because I spent almost all of my leisure hours on the internet. However, I do not wast time on Facebook, Youtube, Hi5 and the likes. Because I love reading news, I am always on the BBC, CNN, ABC, RFI, MSNBC TV and so on.
    Anyway I personally do not see reasons why people would like for children to reduce the usage of the internet. I think the children should be sensitized instead to pursue others issues on the internet that is educative as well. And they can recreate as well as learn at the same time.

  11. 11 UMOH AMOS (Nigeria)
    August 21, 2009 at 16:32

    I wonder if the question really arises.

    This is the in-stuff. The world has suddenly found itself in a corner where the phone, Internet, etc are indispensables as it were. I strongly doubt if anything exist in the enire universe that can reverse the trend back to how it was some 50 years. NOT ONE!!

    All that is needed to our younger ones is advise, enlighten and some form of parental (adult) control or regulation (of some form) over what content can be Assessed, When and by Whom. I REST MY CASE…

  12. 12 patti in cape coral
    August 21, 2009 at 17:00

    This may be totally unrelated, but I went salsa dancing with my sister and my cousin. Me and my cousin get up to dance, and as I’m dancing, totally into the music, I look at her, and she’s texting while she’s dancing with me! I was very annoyed, but then I thought, is this now socially acceptable? Granted, it wasn’t like she was my date or anything, but it seemed unspeakably rude. She texted throughout the whole night, and the times she was dancing with me. Does that constitute an addiction? Is it an addiction to technology, or an addiction to multitasking?

  13. 13 Tom K in Mpls
    August 21, 2009 at 17:39

    I am an unemployed IT guy. I have had horrible luck finding work. I have recently started using WordPress (this WHYS blog host), LinkedIn and Twitter to focus my search and make contacts. I can see now why my ‘luck’ was so bad. If you don’t use the tools available, you will suffer. Any tool can be misused or over used. Each case needs to be evaluated individually. But don’t put it all down because you don’t understand.

    Kids like everyone else need a balance in their lives. The internet has increasing value. We all need to find the right balance.

  14. 14 Kristen
    August 21, 2009 at 18:13

    I believe young people are becoming as addicted to the internet as anyone is to television. For young teenagers and university students it is a way to shop inexpensively, children use it as entertainment, and for everyone in general it is a way to stay connected to those around the world. The only addiction that young people have is that for knowledge and amusement.

  15. 15 Tainara
    August 21, 2009 at 18:27

    how many hours are we talking about? i am 18, i spend 13h per day(holidays) in internet smacking my oponents in chess or facing chess computer programs.it seems my addiction is developing my brain.isnt it good?

  16. 16 Tainara
    August 21, 2009 at 18:33

    i am addicted in books,but guess what.i hate having books in hand.its tiring.i put it all on my e-mail or special programs in my cell phone and i keep reading it even walking in street. any mistake here? i think we should be more specific about the activity there in other to judge properly. but please,dont tell me to stop this addiction.

  17. 17 Tainara
    August 21, 2009 at 18:39

    Which is the limit for over-use? where does addiction begin its soil? i have a friend who on saturdays stays from 4h a.m up to 10h p.m on internet,leaving it only 4 toilet. but he doesnt use it during other days(in which he spends with books and sports). i need to know the definition of addiction.explain please.

    • 18 takoller
      August 21, 2009 at 22:37

      Is there more than one facet to your life? Physically, is your muscle mass and fat index reasonable? Can you generate enough income to support yourself? If you can answer yes to all three, you are probably good. But there is never a hard rule when it comes to these things.

  18. August 21, 2009 at 19:42

    We are all addicted to life and its up to every individual what one does with it.

  19. 20 T
    August 21, 2009 at 22:14

    It’s a matter of developing your skills in a balanced way. Like it or not, the Net and all of its aspects (good and bad) will never go away. Learn how to use it instead of it using you.

  20. 21 Mohan Venkataraman
    August 22, 2009 at 06:04

    whether internet good or bad?
    Match Sticks can be used to lid a lamp (or) yu can make it to fire and destroy the whole.It is up to the people how they utilise the innovations.A tree can give millions of match sticks and at the same one match stick can destroy the whole tree. Same as the story of a Knife.
    Do not worry the younger generation most of them are wise and educated they will learn good..0nly few will be spoiled.

  21. 22 NY
    August 22, 2009 at 08:53

    Sure they’re addicted, but not with the bad meaning of the word.
    It’s not a bad thing to be addicted to the internet as it seems to many people especially to parents!!
    I think it is a good way to educate kids. And parent shouldn’t watch their kids secretively when they’re online, they should rather explain to them what sorta sites are recommended and let the decision to their children to take. This is the way to keep a trust between parents and children.

  22. 23 saad,
    August 23, 2009 at 00:47

    Addication is something out of which we can not get riddance. Well i think its serious problem as increasingly more number of people, not only teenagers are becoming addicted to it .

  23. 24 Rhoda in the United States
    August 24, 2009 at 16:12

    I think that most young people have already become addics/slaves to technology. It’s like they can not live with out it.

  24. 25 Dennis Junior
    August 26, 2009 at 01:31


    I think that young (and often older) people are getting addicted
    by the internet….

    =Dennis Junior=

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