There has been an explosive growth of internet use not only in India but also worldwide in the last decade. There is a growing concern about whether this is excessive and, if so, whether it amounts to an addiction.
To study the prevalence of internet addiction and associated existing psychopathology in adolescent age group.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional study sample comprising of 987 students of various faculties across the city of Mumbai was conducted after obtaining Institutional Ethics Committee approval and permission from the concerned colleges. Students were assessed with a specially constructed semi-structured proforma and The Internet Addiction Test (IAT; Young, 1998) which was self-administered by the students after giving them brief instructions. Dukes Health Profile was used to study physical and psychosocial quality of life of students. Subjects were classified into moderate users, possible addicts, and addicts for comparison.
Of the 987 adolescents who took part in the study, 681 (68.9%) were female and 306 (31.1%) were males. The mean age of adolescents was 16.82 years. Of the total, about 74.5% were moderate (average) users. Using Young's original criteria, 0.7% were found to be addicts. Those with excessive use internet had high scores on anxiety, depression, and anxiety depression.
In the emerging era of internet use, we must learn to differentiate excessive internet use from addiction and be vigilant about psychopathology.