Gender Difference in Internet Use and Internet Problems among Quebec High School Students (2016)

Can J Psychiatry. 2016 Mar 24. pii: 0706743716640755.

Dufour M1, Brunelle N2, Tremblay J2, Leclerc D2, Cousineau MM3, Khazaal Y4, Légaré AA5, Rousseau M5, Berbiche D5.



There are presently no data available concerning Internet addiction (IA) problems among adolescents in Canada and the province of Quebec. The goal of this study is thus to document and compare the influence of gender on Internet use and addiction.


The study data were collected from a larger research project on gambling among adolescents. Activities conducted online (applications used and time spent) as well as answers to the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) were collected from 3938 adolescents from grades 9 to 11. The two most often employed cut-off points for the IAT in the literature were documented: (40-69 and 70+) and (50+).


Boys spent significantly more time on the Internet than did girls. A greater proportion of the girls made intense use of social networks, whereas a greater proportion of the boys made intense use of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, online games, and adult sites.

The proportion of adolescents with a potential IA problem varied according to the cut-off employed. When the cut-off was set at 70+, 1.3% of the adolescents were considered to have an IA, while 41.7% were seen to be at risk. At a 50+ cut-off, 18% of the adolescents were considered to have a problem.

There was no significant difference between the genders concerning the proportion of adolescents considered to be at risk or presenting IA problems. Finally, analysis of the percentile ranks would seem to show that a cut-off of 50+ better describes the category of young people at risk.


The results of this study make it possible to document Internet use and IA in a large number of Quebec adolescents.