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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 16-18

Internet addiction among youth: A glimpse

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Kalinga Institute of Dental Sciences, KIIT Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
2 ICMR - Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Submission16-Dec-2020
Date of Acceptance10-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication9-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Payal Dash
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Kalinga Institute of Dental Sciences, KIIT Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar - 751 024, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpcdoh.jpcdoh_8_20

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Playing digital games or spending most of the time online has become a common leisure activity for both adolescents and the youth in the today's era. The Internet has helped a large number of people by providing them with unlimited knowledge and entertainment. However, it has also made them addicted toward it. And most importantly, there has been an incredible rise in the usage of Internet in India in the recent years which has negatively affected the mental well-being and the sleep quality of its users. This review describes briefly the prevalence of Internet use among youth and its aspect during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Addiction, Internet, youth

How to cite this article:
Dash P, Kumar G, Suresan V, Ghosal S. Internet addiction among youth: A glimpse. J Prim Care Dent Oral Health 2021;2:16-8

How to cite this URL:
Dash P, Kumar G, Suresan V, Ghosal S. Internet addiction among youth: A glimpse. J Prim Care Dent Oral Health [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Oct 24];2:16-8. Available from: http://www.jpcdoh.org/text.asp?2021/2/1/16/310945

  Introduction Top

Technology being so expansive and ever changing, its invention has made the lives of people both easy and dependent. In 1990, the online platform in the world took on a more recognizable form globally, when computer proficient Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. This is currently the most common mode of accessing data online in the pattern of websites and hyperlinks.[1] The Internet has aided millions of people by its powerful creation that offers them with endless knowledge and entertainment. Today, the Internet plays captious role in many fields by communicating with people, banking, gaming, shopping, music, and many more. Last but not the least, it has also served as a helping tool during the COVID-19 pandemic for all the academic classes. Although it has a lots of benefits and gives a plenty of opportunities toward its users, it also has been associated with lots of negative consequences such as cybercrime, bullying, stalking, online gaming disorder, pornography, depression, and loneliness, a few to name.[2] The use of Internet has tremendously increased in India in the past few years. The exclusive document “Internet in India 2017” had computed that among 500 million internet users in India in 2018, 60% shall be scholars, students, and youth,[3] and by 2023, the overall number of Internet users in our nation is proposed to increase approximately up to 666.4 million. Thus, this review is aimed toward enlightenment of the internet use pattern among youth in India and its scenario during the COVID-19 lockdown.

  Internet Addiction and Gaming Disorder Top

The term “Internet addiction” was suggested by Dr. Ivan Goldberg in 1995 for pathological compulsive Internet use. This is extensively also known as problematic Internet dependency or extravagant Internet use and is characterized by immoderate or poorly controlled preoccupations, desires, or behaviors in respect to computer use and Internet access that lead to deterioration or distress.[4] Since the last decade, Internet addiction has not been recognized within the wide scope of addictive disorders, for which no typical diagnosis has been established. It was, however, projected for inclusion in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder. On May 18, 2013, Internet gaming disorder was enclosed by the esteemed American Psychiatric Association in the research supplement of the manual for mental disorders. However, it was confined only to online and offline game players. In the late 2017, the World Health Organization declared gaming disorder as a new state in the eleventh revision of the International Classification of Diseases. This was solely based on clinical information and evidence in accordance with the public health needs of treatment and preventive measures.[5] In few countries, including South Korea and China, online gaming has already been recognized as a disorder and treatment programs have been established.

  Signs and Symptoms of Internet Addiction Top

The addiction among the youth can be patented both physically and emotionally as it varies from person to person. These are essentially cautionary provocations that an addict may develop which is summarized in [Table 1].[6],[7] Adolescents wretched from this condition may insulate themselves from other individuals, typically spending a long hours in social media alienation that negatively impacts their personal relations. Suspicion and immorality issues may also spring up as Internet addicts may try to hide or mostly deny the magnitude of time they spend online. In addition, they may create alternative personas online in an attempt to disguise their online activities. At last, they might even suffer from serious financial troubles resulting from dodging work, insolvency due to continuous online shopping, gaming, etc., Internet addicts feel more at ease in an online environment rather than a physical one.[7]
Table 1: Emotional and physical symptoms of internet addiction[6],[7]

Click here to view

  Effects of an Online Addiction Top

Apart from being dependent on the social media or internet, addicts may also acquire technostress wherein they assign how a computer works, such as expedited time and errorless results.[7] In some cases, it can also drive social departure, that is masses feeling more comfortable when interacting with people online rather than in meeting face to face. As reported by some studies, it affects sleep quality of recurrent users. It causes insomnia, anxiety, and depression among the adolescents.

  Discussion Top

As per some researches, the prevalence of gaming disorder has been found to vary in between 0.7% and 27.5% whereas an analysis of four large global surveys has estimated the prevalence in the broad population to be around 0.3% and 1%.[8]

Gedam et al. depicted that the overall prevalence of Internet addiction was 19.85%, with moderate and severe level of addiction, respectively, being 19.5% and 0.4%. Internet addiction was found to be related with sex, owner of the computer, preferred time period of Internet use, status of login, and manner of Internet access. Several other parametric quantities including graduation level, time spent online daily, place of use, smoking, and alcohol were significant with Internet addiction. It was also preponderantly associated with depression and insomnia.[9]

Recently, a study was designed to examine the outcome of COVID-19 outbreak on sleep. An online survey was performed with individuals erstwhile enlisted for validation of the Spanish version of the sleep questionnaire satisfaction, alertness, timing, efficiency, and duration (SATED). Profile of Mood States questionnaire evaluated the quality of mood. Among them, about 75% were women, and after comparing the previous Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score to that during the COVID-19 outbreak, worse sleep quality was observed. Collaterally, an increase in the negative mood was marked. Consequently, the decrease in sleep quality was considerably correlated with negative mood and no differences in the SATED was derived.[10]

Another study was intended to calculate the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and sleeping disruption among the Italian people during lockdown. The elements that could influence such outcomes were explored. A national cross-sectional survey was performed with questionnaires assessed sociodemographics characteristic, behaviors, and healthcare access. Prevalence of depression and anxiety was 25% and 23%. 42.2% had sleep disruption and 17.4% reported moderate and severe insomnia. Women and participants with chronic conditions were associated with a higher prevalence of sleep disturbances.[11] Another anonymous web-based investigation was conducted that included questionnaires about symptoms of sleep, anxiety, and depression. A growth in sleep pattern before and during COVID-19 global pandemic and symptoms of insomnia was figured out. Particularly during the lockdown, the impact of the delay in bedtime and in wake-up was more noticeable in students. In workers, the prevalence of insomnia before the pandemic was 24% that magnified reaching 40% during the pandemic and about 34% of students displayed anxiety.[12]

Anju[13] attempted to see the effect of gender and semester on Internet addiction and mental health among university students pursuing professional courses during COVID lockdown. A sample of 166 students were approached online and assessed on Internet addiction test and depression, anxiety, and stress scale-21. The students of the terminal semester are scored high on Internet addiction and mental well-being troubles during the COVID-19 condition. The results reported that male respondents are high on Internet addiction and mental problems.

In the United States (US), another study examined the association between online activeness and generalized anxiety disorder 7 (GAD-7) scores by enlisting participants through Google, Facebook, etc., Four hundred and six adult US participants with moderate-to-severe anxiety scores met the inclusion criteria and completed the survey, and it was concluded that the entire period of time exhausted online was not significant with GAD-7 scores.[14]

  Prevention Top

With a tidal wave of information coming at us daily, focus is rapidly becoming the deficient commodity of the 21st century. With this in mind, a handful of the best apps for fighting back against the constant distractions of our digital lives is summarized in [Table 2].[15]
Table 2: Apps for preventing internet addiction[15]

Click here to view

  Conclusion Top

Addiction of Internet among children and youth is an alarming concern. Various parameters such as gender, amount of time spent online, consumption of alcohol, and smoking habit prognosticate high endangerment of digital addiction. Thus, mental depression and sleep disorder are more common in Internet freaks. Development of treatment of internet addiction is a newfound, but processing area of investigation with bountiful room for growth. Various management modes have been evaluated, considering medications, family-based treatments, and an eclectic array of different conceptualization. Consequently, methodological difficulties demarcate the reasons which can be derived about these approaches. At present, no treatments for Internet dependency for an effectual intervention are there. Especially, longitudinal studies are lacking and it should be implied as an threatening disorder with a colonial psychosocial belief.[16]

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Available from: https://www.javatpoint.com/what-are-the-disadvantages-of-the-internet. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 13].  Back to cited text no. 2
Besser B, Loerbroks L, Bischof G, Bischof A, Rumpf HJ. Performance of the DSM-5-based criteria for Internet addiction: A factor analytical examination of three samples. J Behav Addict 2019;8:288-94.  Back to cited text no. 3
Available from: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/internet-gaming. [Last acessed on 2020 Dec 13].  Back to cited text no. 4
Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/addictive-behaviours-gaming-disorder. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 14].  Back to cited text no. 5
Available from: https://www.psycom.net/iadcriteria.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 13].  Back to cited text no. 6
Available from: https://www.psychguides.combehavioral-disorders/computer-internet-addiction/. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 13].  Back to cited text no. 7
Balhara YPS, Kattula D, Singh S, Chukkali S, Bhargava R. Impact of lockdown following COVID-19 on the gaming behavior of college students. Indian J Public Health 2020;64:S172-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
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. 9
  [Full text]  
Targa ADS, Benítez ID, Moncusí-Moix A, Arguimbau M, de Batlle J. Decrease in sleep quality during COVID-19 outbreak. Sleep Breath 2020;29:1-7.   Back to cited text no. 10
Gualano MR, Lo Moro G, Voglino G, Bert F, Siliquini R. Effects of Covid-19 Lockdown on Mental Health and Sleep Disturbances in Italy. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:4779.   Back to cited text no. 11
Marelli S, Castelnuovo A, Somma A, Castronovo V, Mombelli S, Bottoni D, et al. Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on sleep quality in university students and administration staff. J Neurol 2021;268:8-15.  Back to cited text no. 12
Nagaur A. Internet Addiction and Mental Health among University students during Covid-19 Lockdown. 2020;9:684-92.  Back to cited text no. 13
Singh P, Cumberland WG, Ugarte D, Bruckner TA, Young SD. Association between generalized anxiety disorder scores and online activity among US Adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: Cross-sectional analysis. J Med Internet Res 2020;22:e21490.  Back to cited text no. 14
Vondráčková P, Gabrhelík R. Prevention of internet addiction: A systematic review. J Behav Addict 2016;5:568-79.  Back to cited text no. 16


  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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