Indian J Psychiatry. 2019 Nov-Dec;61(6):578-583. doi: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_85_19.
The college students are prone to use internet in a manner that could negatively affect several aspects of their life. The present study is one of the largest studies to be undertaken in India, aimed at understanding the existing pattern of internet use and estimating the prevalence of problematic internet use (PIU) among college students.
Materials and Methods:
The Generalized Problematic Internet Use Scale 2 (GPIUS-2) was used to assess the PIU. Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to ascertain the relationship between GPIUS-2 total score and demographic and internet use-related variables.
Of 3973 respondents from 23 engineering colleges located in the different parts of the country, about one-fourth (25.4%) had GPIUS-2 scores suggestive of PIU. Among the variables studied, older age, greater time spent online per day, and use of internet mainly for social networking were associated with greater GPIUS-2 scores, indicating higher risk for PIU. Students who used internet mainly for academic activities and during evening hours of the day were less likely to have PIU.
This study suggests PIU among engineering college students in India is an important public health concern. There is a need to create awareness among students, emerging adults, parents, and concerned authorities about the harms associated with PIU. Furthermore, there is a need to implement preventive strategies for inculcating pattern of safe and healthy internet usage among them. In addition, there is a need to develop public health policies for prevention and treatment of PIU and conduct further research to enhance our understanding about the same.
KEYWORDS: Adolescents; behavioral addiction; college students; emerging adults; internet addiction; problematic internet use