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Could Internet Addiction Predict Violence?

Students with one of three personality disorders are far more likely than most to get hooked on the internet, a new study finds.


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By Valerie Tejeda


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Are internet addicts more prone to violence? Amid scrutiny of the internet use of Dark Knight massacre suspect James Holmes, a study from Taiwan suggests that people with narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder or borderline personality disorder are far more likely than most to get hooked on the web. A research team led by Ko Hui-chen, chair of the Taiwanese Psychological Association and vice president of Asia University, surveyed 3,166 university students on a long-term basis, finding 10-15% of them to be addicted to the internet. But they found that an enormous 66.7% of the students with narcissistic personality disorder were “netaholics”—as well as 62.5% of those with antisocial personality disorder and 52.2% of those with borderline personality disorder. “Those with narcissistic disorder, antisocial disorder or borderline personality disorder are more eager to realize the dreams that can hardly be done in daily life by assuming the roles of the dream world though online games,” says Ko. She argues that while individuals should learn to control violent urges, online games-makers also bear some responsibility, for making it too easy for internet addicts to confuse the real and virtual worlds. Better classification and control of online games for sexual and violent content would help, she believes.

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