Almost half a million Czechs at risk of addiction to digital technology

According to experts, 445,000 people in the Czech Republic over 15 are at risk of addiction to mobile phones, social networks, and online gaming.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 13.07.2022 11:03:00 (updated on 13.07.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

For many, the pandemic has exacerbated dependence on social media and other digital vices, as well as alcohol and drugs.

According to the latest report on digital addiction, more than 445,000 people over 15 in the Czech Republic may get addicted to mobile phones, social media, and online games, while over 125,000 of them face a high risk of this addiction.

Up to now, the Czech National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addictions has been making annual reports on using illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling. This year, the center also focused on digital addiction for the first time.

"Overuse of the internet and digital technologies applies to quite a big part of the population. It causes many health issues and has negative effects on individuals and their surroundings," the authors of the report wrote.

Addictions interrupt daily routines. People are sleep deprived and their time orientation gets worse. They tend to be exhausted and distracted, they often suffer from headaches, as well as eye and back pain.

They narrow all their contacts to the online world. While their physical activity declines, relationship conflicts are on the rise. The pupils' study results get worse and so does the adults' work performance. The addiction is accompanied by anxiety, depression, and aggression.

Three-quarters of adults use the Internet daily and 72 percent use it on their mobile phones. Over two-thirds are on social media. Adults most frequently use the Internet to read news and look up information, browse social media, and buy goods. Almost a quarter of people play digital games.

On weekdays, people spend on average 130 to 150 minutes on the Internet, and this is out of working and school hours. On the weekend, they browse the Internet for 160 to 180 minutes on average.

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Men use it for 20 to 30 minutes a day more than women. While men usually spend their time playing games and watching pornography, women tend to visit social media and do online shopping. The report shows that 6 to 7 percent of men are in danger of getting addicted, and the same applies to 4 to 5 percent of women. The risk lowers with rising age, people under 25 face the highest risk.

The authors estimate that about 253,000 Czech men and 192,000 women face the threat of digital technology addiction, amounting to 445,000 people aged over 15 in total.

The main aim of the treatment is to reduce the use of digital technologies and bring them under control rather than complete abstinence, which might cause an obstacle at work, school, and in personal life. Czechia now offers 109 treatment programs for people who are overusing modern technologies. The health insurance companies annually pay for the treatment of 150 to 180 people.

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