8.1% of secondary school students may suffer Internet addiction

A government panel said Thursday that 8.1 percent of around 100,000 polled junior and senior high school students nationwide are suspected of being in a state of Internet addiction.

Based on the finding, the panel under the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry estimates that some 518,000 students in the schools are believed to suffer from the addiction, which can trigger health-related problems including sleep disruption.

The first-ever study on Internet addiction among junior and senior high school students in Japan was conducted between last October and March of this year.

The research team, led by Nihon University professor Takashi Oida, sent questionnaires to around 140,000 students nationwide through their schools to ask how they use the Internet.

Team member Susumu Higuchi, an addiction authority and director of the state-run Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, said Internet addiction could cause such health problems as disruption of sleep, urging students to be careful.