Prague, Nov 9 (CTK) – One out of six children and youths (17 percent) play digital games four or more hours a day in the Czech Republic, the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction has said in a report based on a Palacky University expert team’s survey among children aged from 11 to 19.
An average Czech juvenile plays digital games for 1.6 hours on working days and 2.4 hours a day during weekends, the report says.
Boys mostly like shooting or action games and racing, while girls like life simulation games, action games, puzzles and web online games the most.
More than one third of Czech children and youths play digital games more than two hours a day. Foreign experts say more than two hours on the Internet a day may lead to Internet addiction.
The Palacky University survey showed that one out of five youths plays the games two to four hours per day, one out of ten plays four to six hours per day, and nearly 8 percent play more than six hours per day.
The expert team assessed possible addiction to digital games based on nine criteria, including the loss of interest in other activities and hobbies, the loss of friends, failed effort to reduce playing, gaming withdrawal symptoms and deceiving the parents. If five of the symptoms are revealed, there is the risk of gaming addiction.
This concerned 3.7 percent of the children and youths – 6 percent of boys and 1.5 percent of girls. However, at primary schools it concerned 11 percent of boys and 2.3 percent of girls.
These children often lie when saying how much time they spend gaming, they are absorbed by gaming or try to avoid problems or get rid of their bad mood or negative emotions through gaming.
National anti-drug coordinator Jarmila Vedralova confirmed that an increasing number of children and youths become addicted to gaming or social networks.
She said offices for treating children’s addictions recently opened and a big part of the clients come due to addictions related to computers, tablets or mobile phones. She said children with such addiction suffer from lack of sleep, depression and anxieties and obesity.
The Czech government is to discuss the plan of measures against addictions until 2021. Vedralova said this plan would also focus on children.
The Palacky University survey was conducted among 3,950 children and youths aged 11-19 at Czech primary, secondary, apprentice and grammar school in the last school year.