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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 191-195

Prevalence and risk factors of internet addiction among the students of Banaras Hindu University


1 Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Psychiatrist Social Worker, District Mental Health Program, National Health Mission, Varanasi, India
3 Research Scholar, Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission22-Aug-2019
Date of Decision26-Nov-2019
Date of Acceptance27-Jan-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Shweta Jaiswal
Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi - 221 005, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_82_19

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  Abstract 


Introduction: There is enormous growth of Internet use in the last few decades, and it has a vast impact on people's relationship and behavior. Internet use by college students has been associated with frequent communication among friends and family members, but it has minimized the face-to-face interaction. Internet addiction does not imply as an intoxicant; it has been considered as an impulse. Internet addiction among students adversely affects their mental, physical, and social health. Objective: The aim of the study is to find the patterns of Internet use and prevalence and risk factors of Internet addiction among students. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on students studying at Banaras Hindu University (BHU). A total of 133 respondents (77 males and 56 females) were selected for the study by simple random sampling technique. Internet Addiction Test developed by K. Young and a semi-structured interview schedule were used for data collection. Results: The results of the study revealed that out of the 133 students, approximately half of the respondents (53.2%) belong to the 22–25 years' age group and less than half of the respondents (42.9%) were studying postgraduation. One-third of the students (33.8%) belongs to humanities and social sciences. It was found that 58.3% of students were having mild addiction and 20% of students suffer from moderate addiction of the Internet. Nearly one-third of the respondents (41.4%) were facing the problem of headache because of Internet usage. In this study, more than half of the study participants (56.3%) were using the Internet during night, and nearly, one-third of the respondents (42.1%) were using the Internet only for chatting. Conclusion: Although the prevalence of Internet addiction is less in the BHU, approximately one-fifth of the students were suffering with this. To conclude, it can be said that the Internet will be useful keeping in mind that excess of anything is dangerous.

Keywords: Internet Addiction Test, internet addiction, students


How to cite this article:
Srivastava M, Kumar A, Jaiswal S. Prevalence and risk factors of internet addiction among the students of Banaras Hindu University. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2020;36:191-5

How to cite this URL:
Srivastava M, Kumar A, Jaiswal S. Prevalence and risk factors of internet addiction among the students of Banaras Hindu University. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Feb 6];36:191-5. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2020/36/3/191/296264




  Introduction Top


We are living in the information era, and the Internet has become an important tool that not only bears an astonishing variety of information, but also furnishes a new path of accessing, interacting, and connecting with people. It was officially created on January 1983, but it got more recognized in 1990 when Tim Berners-Lee invented the worldwide web. Amazon was founded in July 1994. This is the world's number 1 shopping website. The most used search engine in the world is Google, and it was founded in 1998. Facebook has maximum users all over the world, and it was launched in February 2004, YouTube services were created in February 2005, WhatsApp was founded in 2009, and Instagram was launched in 2010. Hence, nowadays, everyone has a knowledge container, only on one click, and anybody can receive knowledge and communicate all over the world, making our life easy with online shopping and online food delivery, etc. Therefore, in the modern world, the Internet has a great role in changing the lives of the individuals of the society.[1] In the past few decades, there has been an explosive growth of Internet use, not only in India but also all over the world. Worldwide, there are 4.3 billion Internet users in 2019, an increase of 9% compared to January 2018.[2] The Indian population is approximately 17.74% of the total world's population. There are 460 million Internet users in India as of 2018,[3] and the number of Internet users will reach 627 million by the end of 2019.[4]

Kimberly Young reported Internet addiction for the first time at the meeting of the American Psychological Association,[5] and internet addition has been proposed a new type of addiction as alcohol addiction.[6] In 1995, Dr. I. Goldberg had proposed the term “internet addiction” for pathological compulsive Internet use.[7] In a previous study done by Gedam et al., it was found that the prevalence of Internet addiction with moderate and severe addiction is 19.9%.[8] According to psychologists, due to Internet addiction, students suffer from “Discomgoogalation.” The term Discomgoogalation is a combination of the word discombobulates and Google, a popular search engine site. “Discomgoogalation” is a feeling of distress or anxiety when the brain is unable to gain immediate information access. In fact, this condition can increase brain activity and blood pressure level.[9]

In the Indian context, the use of Internet is enormous, especially among youth. College students are developing dependence on the Internet more than others in the society. It can be because of many factors such as students have proper time to access the Internet; students psychological and developmental characteristics; limited parental supervision; students want a frequent connection with their peer groups, the Internet helps in their assignments or projects, and through the Internet, they relax from study burden, etc.[10] Hence, it was necessary to study the pattern of Internet usage among students in the Indian setting and its relationship with their mental and physical health. With this background, in this study, we tried to find the prevalence and risk factors of Internet addiction among the students studying at Banaras Hindu University (BHU).


  Materials and Methods Top


Study design

The cross-sectional study was carried out in the BHU during the period of August–October 2018. The study was conducted after obtaining approval from the institutional Research Ethics Committee of the Institute of Medical Sciences in Varanasi, India.

Participants

This study covered 133 students (aged 19–30 years) having access to the Internet. Informed consent was obtained from each student.

Sampling

By applying the simple random sampling technique, we selected 133 students from different study streams such as science, humanities, and social sciences.

Tools

Data collection was done by a semi-structured interview schedule. This tool has two sections – one about sociodemographic details and the other is Internet Addiction Test (IAT) tool (developed by Kimberly Young). Data were collected from students when they were free in class or in hostel. It took 15–20 min to fill the semi-structured interview schedule.

The tools used in the study were as follows:

  1. The first section of the semi-structured interview schedule contained all demographic details such as educational qualification, purpose of using the Internet (i.e., for education, entertainment, or social networking), and Internet access timing
  2. The IAT developed by Dr. Kimberly Young is used for measuring the severity of self-reported compulsive use of Internet addiction data. It is a 20-item 5-point Likert scale. The total Internet addiction scores were calculated, with possible scores for the sum of twenty items ranging from 20 to 100. According to Dr. Young criteria, the total IAT scores (80–100) represent severe addiction of the Internet, 50–79 scores represent moderate addiction, and 21–49 range represent mild addiction.[11]


For data entry, analysis, and interpretations, Microsoft Excel and SPSS trial version (IBM Corp. Released 2011. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.) were used to draw result and conclusion.

Inclusion criteria

  • Those who are studying at BHU
  • Those who consented to participate in the study.


Exclusion criteria

Those who were seriously ill or out of station during the period of study.


  Results Top


In the present study, a total of 133 students participated, out of which 56 were female (42.1%) and 77 were male (57.9%). More than half of the respondents (53.2%) belong to the age group of 22–25 years, and approximately one-third of the students (30.1%) belong to the age group of 18–21 years. Only 1.4% of the respondents belong to the age group of 30–33 years. Majority of the respondents (96.3%) belong to Hindu religion and only 3.0% of the respondents were Muslim in this study. Students residing in hostel and home constituted 42.1% and 42.1%, respectively, and only 1%–5.8% of students live on rent. Approximately, half of the study participants (42.9%) were studying postgraduation and more than one-third of the respondents (39%) were graduate. Nearly one-fifth of the respondents (16.6%) were pursuing PhD, and only 1.5% of the respondents were pursuing a diploma course. More than half of the respondents (54.8%) belong to urban area and less than half of the respondents' native place was rural area. In this study, 33.8% of students belong to humanities and social sciences and less than one-third (27.0%) of the students were studying arts. Only 18.8% of the students belong to science stream and 20.4% of the participants belong to another stream (professional/technical).

[Figure 1] shows that more than half of the students (54.8%) were using the Internet for academics only and less than half of the respondents (42.1%) were using the Internet for chatting with friends or others, which is quite high, and only 3.8% were fond of online gaming.
Figure 1: Pattern of Internet usage

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[Figure 2] indicates the distribution of various categories of Internet addiction, which shows that nearly two-third (59.3%) of the respondents had mild Internet addiction, 20.0% of students had moderate Internet addiction, and only 0.7% of students were suffering from severe addiction. However, 20% of the students were not at all using the Internet or were not Internet addicted.
Figure 2: Prevalence of Internet addiction

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[Table 1] shows the relation between age of the students with various categories of Internet addiction, which reveals that the age group of 22–25 years is more vulnerable group.
Table 1: Relationship between age and Internet addiction

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[Table 2] shows the association between native place of students with Internet addiction. In this study, it was found that more than half of the respondents (54.3%) belong to urban area and out of this, one-third (32.6%) of the students who belong to urban area were mildly addicted to the Internet. However, the Chi-square value is >0.05, therefore it is not found statistically significant. It may be due to easy availability of the Internet and the urban population is more attracted to the Internet.
Table 2: Association between Internet addiction and native place

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[Figure 3] shows that out of the 133 study participants, more than one-third of the students (41.4%) reported headache at the time of using the Internet, nearly one-third of the respondents (32.3%) felt fatigue, and more than one-third (39.1%) of the respondents were facing the problem of strained vision. However, only 9.8% of the students reported that they gained or lost weight due to excessive use of the Internet.
Figure 3: Health problems related to Internet usage

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[Figure 4] depicts that there are many risk factors (something that increase a person's chances of developing a disease) of Internet use, in which time duration spent on the Internet is one of them. In this, we found that more than half of the participants (56.0%) were using the Internet every day for 1–2 h. More than one-fourth of the students were using the Internet for 3–4 h every day. Due to this, they may develop Internet addiction.
Figure 4: Risk factors of Internet addiction

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In this study, we also inquired about the average time spent on different features for using the Internet by students, and we found that 42.8% of students spend more than 30 min on the Internet for chatting in a day, and nearly, half of the study participants (46.0%) were spending 30–60 min on the Internet for their studies. One of the main findings of the study is that more than half of the participants (56.3%) were using the Internet during night, and majority of the study participants (80.4%) were using the Internet every day. More than half of the respondents (58.6%) admitted that they felt distressed during the excessive use of the Internet.


  Discussion Top


Several studies have been conducted across the world related to Internet addiction among students,[1],[5],[7],[8],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14] but this study had tried to examine the prevalence and risk factors of Internet addiction among students studying at BHU. BHU is a top-ranked university in India, and it is considered an educational hub to facilitate students for their studies. Wi-Fi facility is available in the entire university, and it has become easier for students to access the Internet anytime, but college students were gradually developing dependence on the Internet for the purpose of academics and chatting etc. A larger proportion of the study participants were boys (57.9%). In this study, we also found that mildly addicted students were more than moderately or severely addicted students in this university.

In the present study, it was found that the prevalence of Internet addiction with moderate and severe addiction was 20% and 0.7%, respectively. This finding is very similar (19.5% and 0.4%) to the study done by Gedam et al.[8] It was also found that mildly addicted students were more than severely addicted students.[10],[12],[13],[14] Another finding of this study is that students from urban residential background were more Internet addicted (54.8%) than rural (45.2%) may be because in urban areas, it is easy to access the Internet and they are more aware about Internet usage. Similar findings were reported in the study done by Mahadevaswamy and D'Souza where more than half (57.9%) of the respondents who were moderately addicted belong to urban area.[14]

However, the methodological limitation of this study was the small sample size, and it is from only one central university, hence not the true representative of the universe. Therefore, we cannot generalize the results and not in position to ensure external validity.


  Conclusion Top


The Internet is a good and easy source for gaining knowledge and giving opportunity for social connectedness. The Internet has become an integral part of our life; without the Internet, we cannot envisage our life because it helps in many purposes such as entertainment, study, and social networking. On the basis of the available literature, it was identified that among students, the Internet itself is not a problem, but students are addicted to specific sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Youngsters feel that some of the social networking sites are very interesting to communicate for establishing network by replacing real-life relationships with virtual ones, but excessive use of the Internet adversely affects one's physical and mental health and social well-being. Even if a person is aware about his/her addictions, it is not always easy to get rid of it. It was observed in this study that majority of the students felt stressful due to excessive Internet usage. For students, the Internet is both good and bad like any other source of information, but students must be clear to understand that the Internet is truly an amazing tool and resource when used responsibly and with integrity. Faculties and their parents should monitor Internet use by the students.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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Internet Users in India to Reach 627 Million in 2019: Report. The Economic Times. Available from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/internet-users-in-india-to-reach-627-million-in-2019-report/articleshow/68288868.cms/06 Mar 2019/19 [Last accessed on 2019 Jul 15].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Gedam SR, Ghosh S, Modi L, Goyal A, Mansharamani H. Study of internet addiction: Prevalence, pattern, and psychopathology among health professional undergraduates. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2017;33:305-11.  Back to cited text no. 8
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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