Published Online:1 Nov 2004
The new psychological disorder of Internet addiction is fast accruing both popular and professional recognition. Past studies have indicated that some patterns of Internet use are associated with loneliness, shyness, anxiety, depression, and self-consciousness, but there appears to be little consensus about Internet addiction disorder. This exploratory study attempted to examine the potential influences of personality variables, such as shyness and locus of control, online experiences, and demographics on Internet addiction. Data were gathered from a convenient sample using a combination of online and offline methods. The respondents comprised 722 Internet users mostly from the Net-generation. Results indicated that the higher the tendency of one being addicted to the Internet, the shyer the person is, the less faith the person has, the firmer belief the person holds in the irresistible power of others, and the higher trust the person places on chance in determining his or her own course of life. People who are addicted to the Internet make intense and frequent use of it both in terms of days per week and in length of each session, especially for online communication via e-mail, ICQ, chat rooms, newsgroups, and online games. Furthermore, full-time students are more likely to be addicted to the Internet, as they are considered high-risk for problems because of free and unlimited access and flexible time schedules. Implications to help professionals and student affairs policy makers are addressed.