An empirical study on symptoms of heavier Internet usage among young adults

Published

Journal Article

Understanding negative consequences of heavy Internet use on mental health is a topic that is gaining significant traction recently. A number of studies have investigated heavy Internet usage, especially among young adults in relation to online games, social media and email. While such studies do provide valuable insights, Internet usage so far has been characterized by means of self-reported surveys only that may suffer from errors and biases. In this paper, we report the findings of a two month empirical study on heavy Internet usage among students conducted at a college campus. The novelty of the study is that it is believed to be the first to use real Internet data that is collected continuously, passively and preserving privacy. A total of 69 Computer Science freshman students were surveyed for symptoms of heavy Internet usage, using the Internet Related Problem Scale, and their campus Internet usage was monitored (after appropriate anonymization procedures to maintain subject privacy). Statistical analysis revealed that several Internet usage features, such as instant messaging, entropy, gaming, web browsing, peer-to-peer usage, remote usage, and email usage exhibit significant correlations with symptoms of Internet addiction like introversion, craving, loss of control and tolerance. Although the study found that Facebook and Twitter usage did not show significant statistical correlations with symptoms of heavier Internet usage, it was found that students tending towards heavier Internet usage used those websites less. We believe that this study provides critical new insights into symptoms of heavier (possibly addictive) Internet usage among young adults, which is now a topic of significant concern to the mental health community today. © 2013 IEEE.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vishwanathan, SP; Malott, L; Chellappan, S; Doraiswamy, PM

Published Date

  • January 1, 2013

Published In

  • 2013 Ieee International Conference on Advanced Networks and Telecommunications Systems, Ants 2013

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1109/ANTS.2013.6802883

Citation Source

  • Scopus