If you think that Internet addiction isn't a very serious phenomenon, think again. A recent news story discusses the steps government officials in China are taking to curb the soaring rate of addiction: "China bans new Internet cafes for a year."
According to the article, "Internet cafes are often seen in China as hotbeds of juvenile crime. 'It is common to see students from primary and middle schools lingering in Internet bars overnight, puffing on cigarettes and engrossed in online games,' Xinhua quoted NPC deputy Yu Wen as saying in a separate report."
So, exactly how big of a problem is Internet addiction? "Last year, a report from the China National Children's Center, a government think-tank, said that 13 percent of China's 18 million Internet users under 18 were Internet addicts."
I'd be interested to see similar studies conducted in other countries. For example, what percent of the youth in the United States are suffering from Internet addiction? If anyone is familiar with this topic, I'd love to read your insight.
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.