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February 4, 2010

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More Net addicts found in poorer areas

CHINESE youngsters living in less developed cities have a higher proportion of Internet addicts than their peers in economically and socially more developed regions, a new survey showed.

The survey, conducted by the Communication University of China, showed that between 8 to 9 percent of young computer users in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are Internet addicts.

The survey defines as Internet addicts those people who display at least one of the following three symptoms: a continuous desire to use the Internet; anxiety or anger when cut off from the Web; or happier when on the Internet than in real life.

The situation is worse in some of China's western regions, the survey showed.

For example, in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, and Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, 31.8 and 20.5 percent of young Internet surfers respectively are addicted.

Around 24 million urban respondents, aged six to 29, took part in the survey.

The regional imbalance was because youths in more developed cities have a wider and earlier exposure to the Internet and more choices in leisure, the survey found.

It also found that around 14 percent of all young Chinese urban Internet users are addicted to the Internet, about the same level as in 2005 and slightly higher than in 2007.

A report in 2008 by the People's Liberation Army General Hospital of Beijing defined Internet addicts as those who spent more than six hours online each day for three continuous months.

However, others prefer to use the term "improper use of the Internet."


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