Internet addiction may trigger more addictive behaviours in teens: study

A new study reveals that Internet addiction can alter brain chemistry in young people

A study finds that Internet addiction alters the chemistry of emotions in adolescents, leading to a higher risk of addictive behaviors. — Pexels

New research suggests that young people with Internet addiction experience changes in brain chemistry that lead to more addictive behaviors.

According The GuardianThe study published in PLOS Mental Health used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the brain.

The findings revealed increased activity in certain brain regions during rest and decreased connectivity in areas associated with active thinking, affecting memory and decision-making.

This means that Internet addiction affects the neural networks of young people’s brains, leading to addictive behaviors and behavioral changes related to mental health, development, intellectual ability, and physical coordination.

The researchers reviewed 12 previous studies involving 237 young people (ages 10 to 19) with a formal diagnosis of Internet addiction between 2013 and 2023.

Almost half of British teenagers have said they feel addicted to social media, according to a survey this year.

Lead author of the study and master’s student at UCL’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOS ICH), Max Chang, revealed that during adolescence, “the brain is particularly vulnerable to impulses related to Internet addiction.” “.

These include “compulsive Internet use, mouse or keyboard cravings, and media consumption” because significant changes occur in people’s biology, cognition, and personality in adolescence.

He said they “may have difficulty maintaining relationships and social activities, lie about online activity, and experience irregular eating and sleep disorders.”

Chang added that he hoped the findings would make it possible to effectively treat early signs of Internet addiction through therapy.

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He highlighted the importance of educating parents about Internet addiction as “another possible avenue of prevention from a public health point of view.”

He said: “Parents who are aware of the early signs and onset of Internet addiction will more effectively manage screen time and impulsivity and minimize the risk factors surrounding Internet addiction.”

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