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October 12, 2009

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Survey to assess Internet addiction

AN online survey designed to discover the incidence of Internet addiction will be launched this week by Shanghai Mental Health Center.
The multiple-choice survey is designed to gauge how widespread the problem is, and will be posted at the center's Website ( for a month, officials said on Saturday - World Mental Health Day.
"Internet overuse is a new but severe problem, especially among children and young people," said Dr He Yanling from Shanghai Mental Health Center. "This year's theme for the mental health day is reasonable use of the Internet.
"The survey is to study any behavioral problems and mental disorders among Internet users so we can design effective treatments for them."
She also disagreed with previous findings that defined Internet addiction as staying online for 40 or more hours in one week.
"It's meaningless to focus on how long a person stays online, since different people have different reasons to use the Internet," He said. "The key is whether Internet use has impacted on a person's normal social habits and life."
A previous study found only 2.3 to 3 percent of those who overused the Internet suffered from mental disorders.
In Shanghai, 1.6 percent of the population has a mental disease, with the incidence rising by 0.03 percent annually, the health center said.


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