Mon, Jun 20, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Internet addiction making children sick, doctor says

OBSESSION:Some elementary-school children were so addicted to Internet games that they resorted to self-insertion of tubes to act as catheters, a doctor said

By Wu Hsin-tien and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Two-thirds of the patients who sought treatment at the Mackay Memorial Hospital’s Department of Children and Adolescent services suffered from Internet overuse, department doctor Tsang Ju-fen (臧汝芬) said.

Tsang said that excessive Internet use might cause difficulty concentrating and other problems, such as the formation of disruptive emotional disorders or antisocial behaviors.

A lack of medical attention for such problems might cause borderline personality disorders or depression in children, she said.

Tsang said the department has seen many cases of Internet addiction, with some children rolling on the floor crying because their parents took them to the clinic, or becoming violent when criticized by their parents for their lifestyle choices due to their addiction.

“We have also heard of cases where elementary-school children were so addicted to Internet games that they resorted to self-insertion of tubes to act as catheters so they would not have to leave the computer,” Tsang said, adding that there were also cases of adolescents locking their parents out of the house to prevent them from interfering with their game playing.

Tsang said that the basic definition for Internet addiction is a person who uses the Internet for more than 20 hours per week — aside from school or work use — and exhibits visible symptoms of low spirits.

Tsang said that children and adolescents who exhibit symptoms of Internet addiction often come from families in which the parents themselves are heavy Internet users, adding that some parents are unable to effectively educate their children about proper habits due to their own usage.

Internet addiction might not only cause children and adolescents to exhibit less self-control, but might also cause them to suffer other complications, Tsang said, adding that the resulting issues can be as severe as autism or schizophrenia.

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Welfare should cooperate to detect children and adolescents that are addicted to the Internet and send them to hospitals for medical attention to prevent serious social problems, Tsang said.

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