Video game and internet addictions could soon be classified as 'mental health disorders', say researchers.
Distressed parents have been flooding psychiatrists with pleas for help for their children hooked on the cyber space.
The condition known as "pathological internet misuse" is growing so rapidly among adolescents and young adults that it could soon be formally recognised as a mental health disorder.
International mental health experts are considering including video game addiction and Internet addiction in the next edition of globally recognised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to encourage further study.
One mother from Sydney said that her 13-year-old son was so addicted to computer games he had attended school only intermittently over the past two years and violently resisted attempts to remove him from the screen.
"He starts punching holes through the walls, throwing things around and threatening you ... all this has to do with the most addictive game, World of Warcraft," Adelaide Now quoted her as saying.
Parents have installed hidden spyware on their children's phones to secretly track their movements, read their text messages and look through their photos
Almost one child in every 10 may be addicted to video games.
Parents have said that children as young as 10 being fell asleep on their home computer when they are due to leave for school because they have been up all night playing video games such as Minecraft.
Australian mental health specialists believe formal recognition of Internet addiction will put pressure on governments to make more treatment options available.
Sydney psychiatrist Philip Tam claims that internet addiction should be classified as a disorder.
Dr Tam, a leader in the field, said a website would be launched this week to help carers, families and counsellors address the growing and complex problem of internet addiction.
The Network for Internet Investigation and Research in Australia will be run by specialists with a common passion in assessing, treating, researching and educating the public and professionals about internet addictions.