Taiwan sees more Internet users at risk of addiction

Taipei-Internet addiction is a growing problem in Taiwan with an estimated 1.05 million Internet users aged 12 and above classified as at risk of becoming addicted, according to a 2017 Internet addiction survey report released by the National Development Council.

Among the Internet users at risk, 200,000 are high risk Internet users who failed to engage in any outdoor activities or interact with friends for more than one month, prior to being interviewed, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the percentage of at-risk Internet users aged 12 and above increased from 3.5 percent in 2016 to 5 percent last year, it said.

At-risk Internet users spend an average of 4.8 hours per day online and believe Internet surfing is a good way to relieve stress, achieve spiritual satisfaction and make new friends, according to the report.

Among Internet users at risk, 54 percent are male and 46 percent female, while 40.9 percent hold a bachelor's degree. The 30-39 age group had the highest proportion of at-risk users with 29.9 percent, followed by the 20-29 age group with 21.1 percent, the 40-49 age group with 17.1 percent, the 50-59 age group with 15 percent and the 12-19 age group with 11.4 percent, the survey shows.

New Taipei has the largest share of at-risk Internet users with 17.7 percent, followed by Taichung 12.1 percent, Taipei 11.8 percent, Kaohsiung 11.7 percent and Taoyuan 9.6 percent.

Workers in the service sector and salespeople account for the largest share of at-risk Internet users with 19.8 percent, followed by students at 16.8 percent.

The survey was conducted by telephone from June 16 to July 5, 2017 among 1,508 Internet users aged 12 and above. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Internet addiction has become a serious public health concern around the world. The World Health Organization recently announced it intends to classify "gaming disorder" as an official mental health condition in its International Classification of Diseases due to be published later this year.

Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare is also considering classifying Internet addiction and gaming disorder as mental illnesses, according to a Liberty Times report published on Wednesday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel