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Even Mild Internet Addiction Can Lead to Self-Harm, says study

December 5, 2009

According to researchers, youngsters addicted to the net were more likely to participate in acts of self-mutilation than non-addicted teens.

What counts as addiction you ask? Dr. Lawrence T. Lam from University of Notre Dame, Australia, who led the study says ”if someone feels an urge to get online to check the email or visit any sites, knowing that he or she has just checked the mail two minutes ago, then I would say that exhibits an addictive symptom.”

Researchers surveyed 1,618 adolescents between 13 and 18 years old from the Guangdong Province in Southeast China about their self-injurious behaviors and gave them a test designed to gauge internet addiction.

They took into account factors like underlying health problems, sleeping habits, lifestyles and stress related events in life. The adolescents were then assessed on their Internet behavior and questioned about their inclination towards self harm.

On the basis of the questionnaire, the researchers classified nearly 90 percent as normal users of the Internet. However, nearly one in 10 was found to be moderately hooked to the net, whereas 0.6 percent (10) were severely addicted.

The researchers noted that odds of harming oneself were double in youngsters addicted to the net as opposed to the casual users.

The researchers observed that when the teenagers were offline they were plagued with thoughts of depression, emotional insecurities, mood swings and nervousness. However, the dismal feelings melted away once they logged on the net or when they fantasized about being online.

(read more/via MSNBC)

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