Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2009 Feb 2;63:8-12.
Department of Adult Psychiatry, Medical University, Łódź, Poland.
Media have an influence on the human psyche similar to the addictive actions of psychoactive substances or gambling. Computer overuse is claimed to be a cause of psychiatric disturbances such as computer and Internet addiction. It has not yet been recognized as a disease, but it evokes increasing controversy and results in mental disorders commonly defined as computer and Internet addiction.
This study was based on a diagnostic survey in which 120 subjects participated. The participants were pupils of three kinds of schools: primary, middle, and secondary school (high school). Information for this study was obtained from a questionnaire prepared by the authors as well as the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Psychological Inventory of Aggression Syndrome (IPSA-II).
The results confirmed that every fourth pupil was addicted to the Internet. Internet addiction was very common among the youngest users of computers and the Internet, especially those who had no brothers and sisters or came from families with some kind of problems. Moreover, more frequent use of the computer and the Internet was connected with higher levels of aggression and anxiety.
Because computer and Internet addiction already constitute a real danger, it is worth considering preventive activities to treat this phenomenon. It is also necessary to make the youth and their parents aware of the dangers of uncontrolled Internet use and pay attention to behavior connected with Internet addiction.