A recent study has shown that internet addiction could be linked to mental health problems. Internet officials from three universities have said that a condition known as Internet Addiction Disorder should be looked into.
The study, which was conducted by experts from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU), the University of Milan and Swansea University, looked at how overexposure to the internet can affect the way in which individuals behave in their everyday lives.
A total of 60 people were tested for the research, which involved undertaking an “Internet Addiction Test.” Those who took part were mainly around the age of 24 and spent 15 minutes browsing the internet, with the majority choosing to visit social media websites. Results showed that around 30% of the individuals who took part in the test had internet use related problems.
Speaking about the study, Professor Phil Reed of Swansea University said: “This latest study explored the impact of internet exposure on the impulsivity of individuals who reported higher or lower levels of problematic internet behaviours and are the first data to show experimentally the changes of the behaviour of choice as a result of exposure to the Internet.”
Participants showed they were found to have “less self-control” after browsing the internet, and their choices were found to be more impulsive.
The research also showed that the internet could have an effect in different areas of individuals’ lives. Those with an internet addiction were found to be experiencing problems with work and relationships, and the study also showed a connection between mental health and the internet.
Commenting on the result, Professor Reed said that from the study: “We are now beginning to see the psychological impacts of internet misuse on a group of young people.”
He stated that previous research showed that internet usage could also reduce the ability to study.
“These effects include them becoming much more impulsive, and unable to produce long term plans, which is concerning. Previous work has shown that overuse of the internet reduces ability to study at university, which also fits with problems with long-term planning,” he said.