182 million people are living with this addiction 26



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When we think of addiction, some buzzwords come to mind – alcohol addiction, drug addiction even sex addiction. But very rarely do the words “internet addiction” come to our minds with the very serious tone they deserve.

A team of researchers from the University of Hong Kong began by searching online databases for previous academic papers.

They specifically searched for papers that referenced terms such as internet addiction and dependency, and online and net addicts. From this they  chose 80 global studies, covering reports of web addiction across 31 nations in seven regions.

This included the US, Australia, Austria, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Iran, Isarel, Lebanon, Turkey, China, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Taiwan, and Columbia.

As part of these past studies, a total of 544 participants were surveyed about their internet habits.

There was almost a 50/50 split between the genders – 49 per cent were male – and the average age was 18.42 years.

The review of the literature found that the rate of addiction across the nations studied was at 6%. That comes to an estimated over 182 million people worldwide. Interestingly, the key areas studied varied significantly:

  • Middle East: 10.9%
  • North America: 8%
  • Asia: 7.1%
  • South and East Europe: 6.1%
  • Oceania: 4.3%
  • North and West Europe: 2.6 per cent.
  • South America: 0%



We know a lot about the other addictions, but we don’t know a lot about internet addiction… What are the signs? How do we manage it? There are logical solutions for alcohol and drug addiction but the internet is a little trickier. We’re slowly developing a culture where the internet is at the centre point. It is how we communicate, get our news, relax, work and even monitor our health – so it is almost impossible to quit cold turkey.

According to the Daily Mail, the following are the key questions to ask of yourself or someone else if you suspect them of internet addiction:

  • Do you ignore and avoid other activities to spend more time using devices?
  • Do you think about being online when you are offline?
  • Do you feel criticised by others about the amount of time they spend online?
  • Do you feel tense or bad if you can’t get online – a feeling which noticeably goes away when you are allowed to get back online?

It is a scary thing, addiction, but based on the way the internet is already an integral part of our lives, it could be one of the worst ones.

Tell us, how often do you use the internet? Have you ever suspected a family member – even a grandchild – to have internet addiction? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Im unable to read all of the article.

    5 REPLY
    • Hi Christina, can you please take a screenshot of the page when you try to view it? We’ll try and resolve the problem asap 🙂

    • It’s fine now the big green monster has retreated. About half way down the page blocked by solid green, thanks for asking. Never had any trouble with your story page before. Great site SAS really enjoying it and would like to say thank you all for the effort you go to keep us entertained. Merry Christmas.

    • Happens lots to me but when I shut it down reopen its fine most times. But the new thing is it just drops out altogether. Now that one bugs me cos I have to reopen facebook which takes me to the beginning and I have to scroll thru all of it again. Doubling my data usage which is no longer free.

    • Hi Kerry Ferrari this has been happening on my iPhone and iPad as well and it is because I haven’t updated the software on the devices! Christina Smith thank you so much for your kind words – we love being able to keep you entertained! Hope you have a Merry Christmas and can enjoy us again through 2015 🙂

  2. About two hours one morning when I get up and at night talk to my Sister in England what would I do if I couldn’t talk to my Janet

  3. Yes definitely addicted. I have times when I tear myself away and just do not dare turn it on. But it is also my communication.

  4. With family living overseas and interstate the internet is my lifeline with them – when Skype came about I almost jumped for joy to see and talk to the family!

  5. Since I got the iPad I love it to bits. Don’t think it would have so much attraction without Facebook and the family on it though. Helps ease that feeling of isolation when you are thousands of K’s away from family.

  6. You think that people would realise when they walk around in a daze staring at their mobile devices that things aren’t quite right…

  7. I don’t view it as a problem. There are much worse addictions than using the Internet. It keeps families in touch and stops people from feeling isolated.

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