Study: One in 10 teens hooked on the Net

The results of a new study into use of the Internet by teenagers suggests that one in 10 have an addiction to online activities, while clinical psychologists link such addictions to behavioral disorders. According to experts, who said they interviewed all residents between the ages of 14 and 19 on the southern Aegean island of Kos, 11.3 percent of respondents displayed signs of being addicted to the Internet. Constantinos Siomos, a specialist in child psychiatry at the University of Thessaly who helped conduct the study, said its results showed «a significant increase in the addiction of children to the Internet» compared to a similar survey carried out on youths in Thessaly three years ago. Siomos said the tendency for teens to become addicted to the Internet was largely due to the absence of proper guidance by their parents and teachers. «Adolescents do not approach the Internet as part of the educational process, as should be the case, and more often than not their parents are unable to help them as they do not have the necessary knowledge to do so,» he said. Siomos said the government should intervene. «The state should plan and implement programs to avert the spread of this phenomenon among children and teenagers,» he said. Siomos said that young boys were the most susceptible to Internet addiction, noting that the problem in the provinces is usually worse than in big cities. According to Virginia Fyssoun, a clinical psychologist at Athens’s Evangelismos Hospital who participated in the study on the teenagers on Kos, addiction to the Internet is often associated with juvenile delinquency.