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3 in 50 Worldwide Suffer Internet Addiction

Update Date: Dec 18, 2014 06:01 PM EST
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More than 6 percent of people worldwide suffer Internet addiction, according to a new study.

Researchers explain that Internet addicts suffer an impulse-control problem characterized by being unable to curb their Internet use. The latest study, which involved data from more than 89,000 people in 31 countries, shows that this type of addiction can significantly reduce people's quality of life by negatively affecting their health and interpersonal relationships.

Lead researchers Cecelia Cheng and Angel Yee-lam Li from The University of Hong Kong estimate that 6 percent of the worldwide population is addicted to surfing the web. People living in Northern and Western Europe are least likely to be addicted to the Internet, while those in the Middle East are more likely to be addicted. The study estimates a prevalence of 2.6 percent in Northern and Western Europe and 10.9 percent in the Middle East.

"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," Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium, said in a journal release.

The latest study "Internet Addiction Prevalence and Quality of (Real) Life: A Meta-Analysis of 31 Nations Across Seven World Regions," is published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

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