Home » Generation Z, food, gaming and social addictions for 2 million – Healthcare

Generation Z, food, gaming and social addictions for 2 million – Healthcare

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Generation Z, food, gaming and social addictions for 2 million – Healthcare


Almost 2 million adolescents in Italy have characteristics compatible with behavioral addiction: 1.2 million are addicted to food, almost 500,000 to video games; about 100,000 from social media. On the other hand, there are over 65,000 young people who flee from social relationships (the so-called Hikikomori). This is what the study ‘Behavioral addictions in Generation Z’ found, the result of an agreement between the Department of Anti-Drug Policies of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the National Center for Addiction and Doping of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, presented today at the ISS.
The research, carried out with EXPLORA Addiction Research Division, involved more than 8,700 students between the ages of 11 and 17 and 1,044 parents.
Food addiction is the most widespread: it involves 1,152,000 students between the ages of 11 and 17, most of them females, especially in high schools. Nearly 1 in 10 are at serious risk. Among them, in the 11-13 age group, the risk of suffering from moderately severe or severe depression is 11.62 times higher.
Among addictive risk behaviors, gaming is in second place: it affects 12% of students. In this case, the phenomenon is mainly male: among males in lower secondary schools, almost 1 in 5 suffers from it (18%); the phenomenon tends to diminish with increasing age.
On the other hand, one in 40 boys (2.5%) has a behavior compatible with social media addiction; the percentage is higher in girls between 14 and 17 years, who, together with addiction, have a 10.2 times higher risk of suffering from severe or very severe social anxiety and 5.5 times higher risk of having a character of high impulsivity.
Even if the numbers are smaller, the phenomenon of social isolation (or Hikikomori) is worrying. 11-13 year-old students indicated that they isolated themselves every day in the last 6 months were 1.8% (approx. 30,175), while the percentage of 14-17 year-old students is 1.6% (approx. 35,792).
The most critical age is 13 years old.

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