How common is internet addiction? What percentage of online users are addicted to the internet? How many people have problematic internet habits?
Below you will find the answers to these questions (and more) in a review of published articles on recent internet addiction statistics.
Note that the statistics generally focus on North America and Europe - primarily because most visitors to TechAddiction reside in these parts of the world. However, keep in mind that there has been far more research on internet addiction in countries such as China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Also, because there is no official set of diagnostic criteria for internet addiction, the symptoms used to define problematic use will vary from study to study. Consequentially, this may produce inconsistent internet addiction statistics and results.
Finally, for complete details on the following internet addiction statistics be sure to read the full articles below.
Internet Addiction Statistics
Prevalence of internet addiction and its association with stressful life events and psychological symptoms adolescent internet users
In a Chinese study, the prevalence rate of internet addiction was 6.0% among teen internet users. School, interpersonal, and anxiety problems were associated with a higher risk for internet addiction.
Tang et al., 2014
Gender differences in internet addiction associated with psychological health indicators among adolescents using a national web-based survey
Poor self-rated health, unhappiness, and depression were significantly related with Internet addiction in male and female teens. Depressed girls had a much higher risk of internet addiction than boys who were experiencing similar feelings of depression.
Ha et al., 2014
Prevalence of internet addiction in a sample of southern italian high school students
In an Italian study, the prevalence of internet addiction among high school students was 3.9%. Males were more likely to be classified as addicted to the internet compared to females. The most common internet activities were online gaming and online communication with friends.
Bruno et al., 2014
Pathological internet use—It is a multidimensional and not a unidimensional construct
Internet addiction is not a uni-dimensional construct. At the very least, there is a clear distinction between common problems such as internet gaming addiction and internet pornography addiction. Shyness and life satisfaction are significant predictors of gaming addiction but not of online pornography addiction.
Pawlikowski et al., 2014
Impulsivity and related neuropsychological features in regular and addictive first person shooter gaming
Gamers who are addicted to first person shooters display higher level of trait impulsivity. The authors speculate that “regular” (non-obsessive) FPS gaming may actually improve decision making.
Metcalf et al., 2014
Attachment and family functioning in patients with internet addiction
Compared to control subjects, individuals classified as addicted to the Internet reported greater feelings of depression and rated their family functioning as more negative.
Şenormancı et al., 2014
Dysfunctional inhibitory control and impulsivity in Internet addiction
Compared to a control group, those addicted to the Internet scored higher on measures of depression and anxiety, and lower on measures of self-directedness and cooperativeness.
Choi et al., 2014
Prevalence and determinants of Internet addiction among adolescents
Among a sample of university students in Nigeria, the prevalence rate of Internet addiction was 3.3%. The ratio of male to female Internet addiction was 3:1.
Adiele et al., 2014
Problematic online experiences among Spanish college students: Associations with Internet use characteristics and clinical symptoms
Among university students in Spain, one in ten met criteria for problematic Internet use.
González et al., 2014
Family factors in internet addiction among Chinese youth: A review of English- and Chinese-language studies
In a sample of Chinese youth, those with Internet addiction reported greater dissatisfaction with their families, greater parent–child conflict, and saw their parents as more punitive, and less supportive, warm. Youth who were addicted to the Internet were more likely to have divorced parents, be an only child, and live with a single parent.
Internet use and addiction among Finnish adolescents (15–19 years)
In a study with Finnish teens, 14% of subjects were classified as normal users, 61% were mild over-users, and 24% were moderate or serious over-users. Although half of the subjects admitted that there are disadvantages associated with there Internet use, none of those who were classified as serious over-users reported any harm caused by their Internet use.
The relationship between recent stressful life events, personality traits, perceived family functioning and Internet addiction among college students
Compared to non-addicted subjects, subjects with severe Internet addiction (10% of the sample) had worse family functioning, lower extraversion, higher neuroticism, and a history of more stressful life events.
In a Chinese study, teens classified as highly addicted to the internet were twice as likely to also display self-injurious behavior.
1.5% – 3.5% of German teens show signs of internet addiction or excessive use. Among these adolescents, internet addiction is correlated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and lower school achievement.
The prevelance rate of internet addiction for studies published in North America and Europe ranges from 1.5% to 8.2%.
In 2005, just 9 - 15 million people in the United States used the internet every day. Every three months the rate of use was increasing by 25%.
Internet users in Greece have an internet addiction prevalence rate of 8.2%. Most internet addicts are males who play online games and access internet cafés.
10% of South Korean youth are considered to be at high risk for internet addiction.
In addition to demonstrating other criteria, it has been proposed that a diagnosis of internet addiction must include symptoms for at least 3 months and at least 6 hours of non-essential internet use per day.
96% of teenagers in China use IM and 10% can be classified as IM addicts.
41% of self-selected online gamers play video games to escape and 7% are classified as being at risk of developing a psychological and behavioral dependence on online computer games.
1% of Norwegians are addicted to the internet. An additional 5% are at risk of developing internet addiction. The highest rate of addiction is in the 16-29 year old group (4% addicted, 19% at risk).
11% of South Korean students are considered to be at risk for internet addiction.
The prevalence of problematic internet use among South African technology workers is 4% (compared to 2% of a control group of non-IT workers).
7% of Chinese elementary and middle school students suffer from internet addiction. The rate is higher in males (10%) than in females (4%). The rate is higher for rural students (8%) than for city students (5%).
Only 1% of college-level introductory and abnormal psychology books make reference to internet addiction.
Adolescents who play more than one hour of console or Internet video games may have more or more intense symptoms of ADHD or inattention than those who do not
15% of MMORPG players meet the criteria for Internet addiction. Less than 1% of the players surveyed indicated that they have sought professional help for Internet addiction.
18% of British students were considered to be pathological internet users, whose excessive use of the internet was causing academic, social, and interpersonal problems. Students addicted to the internet were found to have lower self-esteem than other students.
84% of college counselors "agree" or "strongly agree" that Internet Addiction Disorder is a legitimate disorder. 93% of college counselors have "some, but not sufficient training" or "no training" on diagnosing internet addiction disorder. 94% of college counselors have "no training" or "some, but not sufficient training" on the treatment of internet addiction disorder.
Among daily users of the internet, 5% of boys and girls from Finland were classified as being addicted to the internet.
Kaltiala-Heino et al., 2004
More internet addiction stats? Click the infographics below to enlarge.
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