ZDNet: 5-10pc of Singaporeans are internet addicts

Between 5-10 percent of people in Singapore are addicted to the internet according to a ZDNet Asia article published this week. The piece, based around an interview with social worker Sim Ngee Mong from Covenant Family Service Centre (FSC), describes an internet addict as…

someone who spends more than five hours a day on the computer and craves more time on the PC, neglects family and other social activities, and exhibits irritability or emptiness when not engaged in online activities. For students, it could mean a lack of sleep, inability to concentrate in school, and failing tests and exams.


those who are hooked end up losing track of time and their own physical needs, exhibiting poor self-care and stress management.

With Singapore one of the world’s most technologically-advanced populations, person for person, in the world (for instance one in ten own an iPhone) it is perhaps of little surprise that the city-state should have a high level of internet addicts.

The article and Sim Ngee Mong suggest government restrictions would help curb addictions issues, which in Singapore are most common amongst male Chinese teenagers.

China’s Ministry of Culture last month, in a move seen to curb Internet game addiction, stipulated that players who wish to engage in online games must register with the proper credentials. The regulations are slated to come into effect Aug. 1.

Though restricting children, particularly teenagers, from the internet is a difficult task for parents given the sheer access to the web – laptops, PCs, mobile phones and even iPods – it is a little worrying to see Mong suggest that “if their child is beyond parental control, they [the parents] can go to court to apply for an order to put the child in [a] home”.

Internet addiction is particularly well documented in Asia with China, where 14 percent of the population are reportedly addicted, and Korea, where 12.8% of kids are web addicts, noteworthy examples for producing a number of horrendous internet-addiction related crimes and news stories.

It is a tricky question to answer but addictions to technology, and gaming, in youths is nothing news. Nintendo, Sega and others have been causing teenagers to lose sleep and suffer negative consequences since the first video games console emerged.

The internet, with its near constant access for those with smartphones, takes the concept a somewhat further.

Would government-backed legislation to encourage responsible internet-gaming, and internet-usage, really make a difference, or would those affected simply channel their addiction into a different technology stream – for example offline video games?

Along similar lines, this recent post illustrates internet addiction in Southeast Asia is not just limited in Singapore, or youngsters.