Adolescents Over-Use of The Cyber World: Internet Addiction or Identity Exploration? (2011)

COMMENTS: Study acknowledges that Internet addiction exists and negatively correlates it to “self-clarity”. Suggests future studies examine type of Internet use, rather than amount.

Israelashvili M, Kim T, Bukobza G.

J Adolesc. 2011 Jul 29.


Department of Human Development and Education, School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the Internet can serve as a valuable tool assisting adolescents in pursuing the developmentally-related need for self concept clarity. Participants in the study were 278 adolescents (48.5% girls; 7th-9th graders) who completed questionnaires relating to their levels of Internet use, Internet addiction, ego development, self consciousness, self-concept clarity, and personal demographic data.

The study results support the general notion that adolescents’ level of self-clarity is negatively related to Internet addiction and over-use. Hence, it is suggested that future studies on adolescents’ Internet over-use should use qualitative rather than quantitative conceptualization and measurements in order to properly explore such a behavior and its, either positive or negative, implications. A differentiation is proposed between over-users, heavy users, and addicted users. Namely, over-users and heavy users utilize the Internet for age-related and modern-life-related purposes, and hence should not be labeled as addicted. Implications for the measurement, definition, and treatment of Internet over-use are suggested.

Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.