Teens typically use the internet for education and for amusement. While many teens are normal internet users, for others the internet captures the focus of their mind in an abnormal way. They may not know it, but obsessive internet use can become an addiction.
Internet addiction can be measured using Young’s Internet Addiction Scale.
Teens who are addicted to internet use are two and a half times more likely to result in depression (using the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale) compared to adolescents whose internet use was considered normal. These results are from a study in July 2008, of 1618 high school students between 13 and 16 years old in Guangzhou, Southeast China. This study was just published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
One factor contributing to depression may be sleep deprivation, since internet-addicted teens are at their screens day and night. Another factor may be the highly competitive level of game playing. Failure in game-playing is as real as failure in other areas of life.
Ellen White, a 19th century health reformer, wrote about the advantages of the right use of the mind,
“You have cost much. ‘Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ 1 Corinthians 6:20. That which you may regard as your own is God’s. Take care of His property. He has bought you with an infinite price. Your mind is His. What right has any person to abuse a body that belongs not to himself, but to the Lord Jesus Christ? What satisfaction can anyone take in gradually lessening the powers of body and mind by selfish indulgence of any form?” Our High Calling, p. 43.