Internet addiction increases self-harming tendencies

According to researchers from the University of Sydney and Notre Dame, in recent years, with the greater availability of the internet in most Asian countries, internet addiction has become an increasing mental problem among adolescents.

The team surveyed 1,618 students aged between 13 years and 18 years in Guangzhou in China and found that around one in six had inflicted some form of self-injury — hitting, burning or cutting themselves — in the last six months.

Just over one in ten reported moderate or severe internet addiction: admitting to feeling depressed or moody when ‘off-line’ and fantasising about the internet when away from a computer, The Age reported.

An analysis of the results showed that students were twice as likely to report high levels of self-harm — more than five times in the last six months — if they also showed signs of internet addiction.

The results suggested a “strong and significant” association between internet addiction and self-injurious behaviour in adolescence, said lead author of the study Lawrence Lam of the University of Sydney.

“Internet addiction and self-injurious behaviour can both be considered as part of the spectrum of impulse control disorders,” Lam wrote in the journal Injury Prevention.

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