What online addiction is doing to our children

A generation of screenagers are becoming hooked on a virtual world. We meet the compulsive gamers and the people who are helping themAt first glance, Andrew’s room looks like any other messy 18-year-old’s. Posters of scantily-clad girls are plastered over the walls, his bed is unmade, and sports trophies jostle for space on his shelves. But look closer. Cans of Red Bull are stacked on top of a fridge. Dirty plates litter the floor. It is a bright morning yet the black curtains are tightly drawn. Two computer screens are running, a laptop and cables are strewn across the bed, and there is a background drone of two PC towers. Andrew rarely ventures outside the house. His weight has ballooned to 25 stone and his mother brings him meals on a tray. He will play online games for 48 hours straight if he feels the need.Seventy per cent of UK households are connected to the internet and 77% of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 log on every single day. Children are using computers at a younger age than ever — over 8m have access to the internet. Kids start by watching CBeebies; a few years later they’re playing Call of Duty.

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