July 30, 2008

Experts: Internet Addiction Growing

The author of a book on Internet addiction says that 5 to 10 percent of the U.S. population is hooked with larger percentages in other countries addicted.

Kimberly Young, clinical director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, told Medill News Service that many addicts are hooked on one particular aspect of the Internet. The major ones include online gambling and gaming, sex sites, compulsive surfers and even addiction to eBay.

Coleen Moore of the Illinois Center for Addiction Recovery said that she has seen young adults who spend 14 to 18 hours a day at their computers. At that point, the Internet is keeping them from work, family life and friendships outside the virtual world.

Young compared the Internet to alcohol. Many people can use it and then turn to something else but some lose control. She said that treatment is in its early stages, depending on therapy.

Young is the author of Caught in the Net, a book on Internet addiction. She said that in some countries like Taiwan and China as many as 30 percent of computer users may be hooked.