Experts define Internet addiction as an impulse-control problem distinguished by an inability to inhibit Internet use.
This addiction can adversely affect a person’s life, including their health and interpersonal relationships, reports a new study.
Researchers, however, did not find an association between high levels of Internet accessibility or exposure, and addiction.
In the study, investigators from The University of Hong Kong discovered the prevalence of Internet addiction varies among regions around the world.
Researchers Cecelia Cheng and Angel Yee-lam Li reviewed data collected from more than 89,000 individuals in 31 countries.
The study results are discussed in an article “Internet Addiction Prevalence and Quality of (Real) Life: A Meta-Analysis of 31 Nations Across Seven World Regions,” published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
Researchers found that approximately six percent of global Internet users are estimated to be addicted to the media channel. Addiction prevalence ranged from a low of 2.6 percent in Northern and Western Europe to a high of 10.9 percent in the Middle East.
This finding suggests that addiction is not necessarily linked to accessibility or a dense cyber-environment.
In the article, the authors describe factors associated with higher Internet addiction prevalence and how it relates to individuals’ quality of life.
“This study provides initial support for the inverse relationship between quality of life and Internet Addiction (IA).
“It, however, finds no support for the hypothesis that high Internet accessibility (such as the high penetration rates in northern and western Europe), promote IA,” says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, Ph.D., MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.