About 18 percent of Chinese youth play online video games at least four to five hours per day, showing signs of addiction, according to a survey.
According to a report in Monday's China Youth Daily, research on the online behavior of Chinese youth showed that 41.3 percent of Chinese young people understand that it is unhealthy to spend too much time online, but cannot control themselves.
"Internet addiction is relevant to our lives. Almost one in every five youth has already been or is likely to become addicted to video games," said Zhou Huazhen, a scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in charge of the research.
Zhou said she believes the study has brought much more extensive and straightforward results in the study of internet addiction in China compared to individual cases reported by the media.
The study showed that about 23.6 percent of Chinese young men played online video games at least four days a week, and 17.7 percent played every day.
The percentage of students who play online games at least four days a week grows with age -- 16.9 for elementary students, 21.3 percent for junior high school students and 31.8 percent for senior high school students.
Accessibility of digital products and parental supervision are two main factors driving the increase, said Zhou.
Older children need to use the internet more often than younger children, both for study and daily life, as well as to meet their social needs, and teachers and parents usually loosen their supervision as children grow up, Zhou added.
Zhang Shuhui, vice president of CASS, conducted similar research in 2010, also working with Zhou, showing that only 6.7 percent of students spent more than six hours online from Monday to Friday at that time.
Zhang said even with minor differences in parameters between the surveys, the results of the two surveys show increasing internet addiction among Chinese youth.
In the beginning of 2018, addiction to video games was recognised by the World Health Organization as a mental health disorder.