Mental health epidemic predicted. A Sydney shrink claims that the world wide web could create a mental-health epidemic, with up to 10 per cent of adolescents at risk of addiction.
Lawrence Lam, a behavioural epidemiologist at the University of Sydney and the Children's Hospital at Westmead cited studies in Greece and the US which showed that eight per cent of adolescents could be classified as computer addicts. Lam conducted research in China where the problem was close to 14 per cent.
Shrinks could not agree on whether to label the problem as an addiction or a mental-health problem, Lam said. People who played online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft, were especially prone to the condition, which he defined as an “uncontrollable and damaging use of the internet”.
Boys were 50 per cent more likely to be affected than girls. (Who would have guessed.sub.ed.) He advised parents to watch for sharp changes in how often or how long children were online. If they have moss growing on the top of their head then chances are they have been playing a bit long.
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