Half a million Japanese students suffer from internet addiction



It is not unknown that today’s technology is easily accessible. It is also not surprising that a lot of people, especially those from the younger generation, are hooked to the internet, where almost everything is just a click away. A survey conducted by a Health Ministry panel revealed that more than half a million of Japan’s junior and high school students could be addicted to the internet. More than the addiction, its effects on students are bringing concern to the government.

The survey began in October last year and was completed in March, led by Professor Takashi Oida from Nihon University. Around 140,000 students nationwide were given with questionnaires inquiring about their internet use. From the 98,000 respondents, 7,952 students were believed to be addicted to the internet. Among the students, 8.1 percent were considered “pathologically” addicted. With these results, the Health Ministry translated that the country has half a million of students addicted to the internet.

Junior and high school students spending time on the internet during weekdays for more than 5 hours have increased from 9 percent to 14-15 percent. The survey also showed that 14 percent of junior high school students and 21 percent high school students were spending more than 5 hours on the internet during weekends. Common signs of internet addiction are insomnia and loss of appetite, or poor eating habits, both leading tohealth problems especially when experienced chronically. Among the questions asked, out of the eight given, were about their feelings when not using the internet as well as the status of their social activities and relationships.

A similar study was previously made by the government on children’s mobile phone use. The report made in 2011 showed that a lot of Japanese children have mobile phones and were addicted. Such addiction may be carried out until teenage years, especially since most mobile phones have internet access.

Japan is also not an isolated case of having internet addicts. A 2011 survey in Germany and a recent study in Taiwan revealed that a significant number of their citizens have been addicted to the internet. Also in 2011, a global study was conducted by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) on people 17-25 years of age. Called “the world UNPLUGGED,” most of the respondents from around the globe were said to have reported anxiety, confusion, depression, panic, and restlessness when withheld from using the internet, social media in particular, for 24 hours.

[via Wall Street Journal]

< Back to view all blogs