An increasing number of young people are so obsessed with using smartphones and computers that their health and schoolwork are being undermined. Prompt measures should be taken at school and home to deal with this problem.
According to a recent survey by a Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry research team, about 520,000 middle and high school students are addicted to the Internet, particularly for online gaming and e-mailing.
The survey shows that 9 per cent of middle school students and 14 per cent of high school students access the Internet more than five hours each weekday.
What should not be overlooked in the survey is that a significant percentage of students are believed to be so obsessed with going online that they cannot restrain themselves from accessing the Internet, as is evident from the irritation they express if they have to stop using it. The figure for middle school students stands at 6 per cent, and high school students at 9 per cent.
About 60 per cent of those surveyed suffer from sleep disorders. Their days and nights tend to be reversed as a result of their absorption in the Internet late at night. In some cases, they skip school and confine themselves to their rooms.
The addiction of young people to the Internet during their growth period is ruining their minds and bodies. The situation is extremely serious.
Some young Internet addicts have nutritional disorders due to irregular eating habits. They also show symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, the formation of a blood clot due to long hours of retaining the same seated posture, a condition normally associated with economy-class passengers on airplanes. The deeper the addiction to the Internet, the greater likelihood they will feel depressed.