Spain, European leader in teen addiction to the Internet

21.3% of Spanish adolescents are at risk of develop an Internet addiction due to the time spent browsing the Web, compared to 12.7% of the European average, according to a study financed by the European Union in different countries that has had the collaboration of the association Protégeles in Spain.

This percentage places Spain at the head of the countries included in the study. In addition, the work, which involved up to 2,000 adolescents per country, highlights that 1.5% of Spanish adolescents already suffer this type of addiction.

According to the definition of the authors, Addictive Internet behavior consists of in a pattern of behavior characterized by the loss of control over the use of the Internet and "potentially leads to isolation, neglect of social relationships, academic activities, recreational activities, health and personal hygiene."


Thus, 27.8% of Spanish adolescents claim to use the Internet to the point of neglect other activities. Spain stands out especially in the use that adolescents make of social networks, a type of behavior related to Internet addiction.

Addiction in Europe to social networks and games

In fact, Spaniards from 14 to 17 years old form the main group of daily use of social networks in Europe, with 91.6% of the use and 39.2% that recognizes spending more than two hours a day on these web pages, followed by young people from Iceland (89.3%) and the Netherlands (87.3%). The young people who use social networks less daily are the Greeks and the Poles.


The young people of our country are also main users of chat rooms in Europe: 67.4% do so, followed by young Greeks (48.9%) and Germans (43.2%). The young people who use the chat rooms the least are the Icelanders and the Poles.

Meanwhile, Dutch teenagers aged 14 to 17 make up the main group of daily use of instant messaging services (WhatsApp type) in Europe, followed by Polish and Spanish youth. Those who use this type of services the least are the Germans and the Icelanders.

The games of chance with 'online' bets, The use of social networks and computer games are closely related to this type of "dysfunctional" behavior, according to the study, while watching videos or movies is not related to this type of addiction. In addition, doing homework or searching for information is negatively associated with this syndrome.


The profile of the Internet addict

The profile of people who suffer dysfunctional behavior on the Internet, which includes both those who are at risk of contracting an addiction and those who have already developed it, is a man between the ages of 16 and 18, and parents of a medium or low level of education.

In general, in Europe, 1.2% of the sample presents an addictive behavior to the Internet, while 12.7% presents a risk of suffering it. Spain, Romania and Poland have a higher prevalence of risk, while Germany and Iceland have the lowest prevalence.

Internet addiction increases the risk of sexual harassment

On the other hand, the study analyzes the risk of sexual harassment and points out that 63% of European adolescents aged 14 to 17 have contacted people they did not know personally through the Internet. Spanish adolescents are below the European average in this type of practice, led by young Romanians.

Meanwhile, 21.9% have suffered situations of Internet harassment or cyberbullying, being more frequent in girls (24.1%) than in boys (19.5%). Spain is the country in which less situations of cyberbullying occur, much more frequent in Romania.

Video: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari


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