Internet addiction is a growing problem among young people

Internet addiction is a growing problem among young people

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Internet addiction factor: excessive media use among young people
On the occasion of the current computer games fair "gamescom", the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) expressly warns of the risks of excessive media use. It is not uncommon for addictive behavior to develop that can have far-reaching effects on the psychological well-being and social relationships of those affected. According to the BZgA, more and more young people are affected by an internet addiction or a computer game addiction.

On average, adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 now spend around 22 hours a week playing computer games or using the Internet, reports the BZgA. In the meantime, 5.8 percent of all young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have disturbed internet or computer game behavior, according to the federal government's drug commissioner, Marlene Mortler. Those affected have difficulty controlling their game and show real withdrawal symptoms such as aggressiveness, withdrawal from everyday life or depression.

Increase in internet-related disruptions
The growing internet addiction among adolescents is "a worrying development," according to the drug commissioner. The current figures from the BZgA show that the proportion of computer game and internet-related disorders in male adolescents from 3.0 percent in 2011 to 5.3 percent in 2015 has risen. The development of the girls is even more worrying. The proportion of female adolescents almost doubled in the same period from 3.3 percent to 6.2 percent, reports the BZgA. Overall, boys are more interested in computer games, while girls are primarily concerned with social media.

Train young people early on in dealing with the media
Excessive usage behavior, according to the BZgA, is characterized by the fact that "those affected have problems controlling their internet use and react restlessly or irritably when they can not be online." Heidrun Thaiss, emphasizes that it is crucial for the prevention of excessive media use, "to train young people in the conscious use of media at an early stage and to draw attention to the associated risks in order to counteract negative consequences such as loss of control and loneliness."

Promote media-competent coexistence among young people
The BZgA reports that the BZgA is providing schools throughout Germany with support for the "Net pilots" project to promote "media-competent coexistence among young people." In addition, the LWL University Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) has been offering people who have already developed problematic online usage behavior “online ambulance service for internet addicts (OASIS) since last year “Reports the BZgA.

Many inquiries with the online ambulance
According to the initiator Dr. Bert te Wildt has a special advantage. For internet addicts, "the inhibition threshold of getting help online is apparently lower than contacting an advice center directly." Since the online ambulance, more than 10,000 users have already carried out the self-test "to find out whether you or a relative suffer from internet addiction. ”This shows that the internet does pose a risk of addiction, but on the other hand it can also be used therapeutically.

Parents should be vigilant
Last but not least, parents are also asked to prevent internet addiction. They have to "remain vigilant, talk to their children about it and be a media-competent role model," emphasizes the BZgA. Those who no longer put their smartphone or tablet away at dinner are not credible to the kids and certainly do not provide a healthy online / offline balance.

The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) is currently providing information on the challenges and risks of the virtual world for young people with a joint stand of Net pilots and the OASIS portal at the "gamescom" computer games fair. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: The real danger of internet addiction. (May 2022).


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