Some people might consider internet addiction to be a first-world problem and not a real affliction. A new study from the University of Hong Kong suggests otherwise.
According to the study, which we first saw on Motherboard, researchers estimate that 6% of the world’s population is addicted to the internet.
The world’s population is roughly 7 billion people, so that makes for about 420 million people addicted to the internet.
Importantly, not everyone in the world even has access to the internet. In fact, only 39% of the world does.
According to the authors of the study, which was published in Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking, internet addiction is “generally regarded as a disorder of concern because the neural abnormalities (e.g., atrophies in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and cognitive dysfunctions (e.g., impaired working memory) associated with IA mimic those related to substance and behavioural addiction. Moreover, IA is often comorbid with mental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.”
In other words, symptoms of internet addiction aren’t unlike those of other kinds of addiction.
Some countries are taking steps to eradicate internet addiction. China was among the first countries to call it a clinical disorder. The Chinese government has even built up to 250 boot camps to try to break Chinese teens of their internet addictions.
You can check out the full study here.