News / Health

Heavy Internet Use May Lead to Addictive Behaviors

Shin Minchul, bottom, a 21-year-old college student, plays online computer games at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.Shin Minchul, bottom, a 21-year-old college student, plays online computer games at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.
x
Shin Minchul, bottom, a 21-year-old college student, plays online computer games at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.
Shin Minchul, bottom, a 21-year-old college student, plays online computer games at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.

Related Articles

Study: Cookies as Addictive as Cocaine

Findings could shed light on potential addictiveness of high-fat and high-sugar foods
VOA News
Young people who spend a lot of time on the Internet may exhibit classic addiction behaviors, according to new research.

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology, Duke University Medical Center and the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences, tracked the Internet usage of 69 college students over two months. What they found was a correlation between certain types of Internet usage and addictive behaviors.

“About 5 to 10 percent of all Internet users appear to show web dependency, and brain imaging studies show that compulsive Internet use may induce changes in some brain reward pathways that are similar to that seen in drug addiction,” said Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center.

For the study, the students were asked to complete a 20-question survey called the Internet-Related Problem Scale (IRPS). The IRPS measures the level of problem a person is having due to Internet usage, on a scale of 0 to 200.

This scale was developed to identify characteristics of addiction, such as introversion, withdrawal, craving, tolerance and negative life consequences. The survey also captures escapism, ratings of loss of control and reduced time on daily activities.

The researchers also tracked the campus Internet usage of participating students over two months.

They found that the range of IRPS scores among participating students over the two-month period ranged from 30 to 134 on the 200-point scale. The average score was 75.

Participants’ total Internet usage ranged from 140 megabytes to 51 gigabytes, with an average of 7 gigabytes, and that use was divided into several categories, including gaming, chatting, file downloading, email, browsing and social networking (Facebook and Twitter). The total IRPS scores exhibited the highest correlations with gaming, chatting and browsing, and the lowest with email and social networking.

Classic addiction behaviors were tied to specific Internet activities, according to the researchers. For example, they found that introversion was closely tied to gaming and chatting; craving to gaming, chatting and file downloading; and loss of control to gaming.

Students who scored high on the introversion scale spent 25 percent more time on instant messaging than those who scored low on the scale. Students who reported increased craving on the IRPS downloaded 60 percent more content than those who scored low. Not surprisingly, students who scored high on the IRPS scale spent about 10 percent of their Internet time on gaming, compared to 5 percent for the group that scored low.

“We tend to take drug-related addictions more seriously than if someone were using the Internet as a drug,” says Doraiswamy. “The negative consequences of the Internet may be quite underappreciated.”

According to the researchers, the demand for professional help for a “digital detox” is on the rise, but there is little data to guide diagnosis or care. They believe that results from this study and others may shed light on the potential of the Internet to affect our behavioral and emotional wellness, and the need to establish criteria for normal versus problematic usage in different age groups.

The team cautioned that the current study is exploratory and does not establish a cause and effect relationship between Internet usage and addictive behavior.

They add that most of the students scored a little lower than the mid-point of the scale. Furthermore, students exhibiting problematic Internet usage may also suffer from other mental disorders, a fact that was not examined in this study.

The research, presented Dec. 18 at the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Networks and Telecommunications Systems in Chennai, India.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid