61. Chinese College Students Addicted to the Internet: Prevalence and Psychosocial Correlates

Internet addiction is becoming more and more apparent with the increase in the use of technology. Internet addiction is described as an impulse control disorder, which does not involve the use of an intoxicating drugs. In some instances, people become addicted to specific websites or blogs and develop an emotional attachment that has them online for hours or even days at a time.
The "virtual communities" is one aspect of the internet that people become easily addicted to. Meeting people online and interacting in these virtual worlds can be extremely entertaining to some individuals and leave them online for a long period of time. People who suffer from internet addiction typically use these fantasy online worlds to communicate with others as a substitution for real-life communication, which they are most likely unable to do.

There are a few early warning signs for internet addiction to pay attention to if you think you or another individual is addicted to the internet. These warning signs include the following: preoccupation with the internet, online longer than originally intended, lie to family members to conceal excessive internet use, and using the internet to escape from personal problems. A person should seek help immediately if he/she has any problem with any of the warning signs of internet addiction.

The prevalence of Chinese college students addicted to the internet 

In this study, the prevalence of internet addiction in Chinese college students was closely examined. The study consisted of 1,173 Chinese college students with 62.1% (728 students) of them being male and 37.9% (445 students) of them being female. The mean age for this study was 19.65 years old which makes sense because it is strictly Chinese college students being studied. The test method used was a questionnaire administered to each of the 1,173 students in a classroom setting.

Here is a chart of the sociodemographic characteristics of the Chinese students involved in the study. It is important to have background knowledge on the study participants. As you already know, there are more males than females. The education program the student is in is not very important to this study in particular. The most astonishing statistic discovered was that the majority of both parents' education were less than or middle school. Finally, the majority of the students in this study have family intactness.

Among the participating Chinese college students, 15.2% were classified as having internet addiction. "The significant predictors of Internet addiction were found to include the quality of the family environment (i.e., the quality of the parent–child relationship), personal mental health status (i.e., the existence of depression), and the level of developmental assets (i.e., psychosocial competence)" (Chi, Lin, and Zhang).

Factors associated with internet addiction among Chinese college students

Three factors were measured in this study: the quality of the parent-child relationship, the personal mental health status, and psychosocial competence. The 15.2% that were classified as having internet addiction were said to have reported poor parent-child relationships, most likely suffering from depression, or have a low level of psychosocial competence.

This study then suggests that if we want to reduce or even try to eliminate internet addiction, we must improve the quality of the family environment and promote psychosocial competence among the youth. If this can be done, that 15.2% addicted to the internet will likely decrease. Below is a brief interview of a person with little to no knowledge on this topic and what she thought had the most impact on internet addiction.

The Chinese college students addicted to the internet have numerous problematic behaviors when using the internet

Of the 15.2% of Chinese college students that were said to be addicted to the internet, each student admitted to at least one of these problematic behaviors when using the internet: staying online longer than originally intended, lie to family members to conceal excessive internet use, unable to control internet use, and go online to escape from personal problems. Here is a pie chart that depicts the percentage of addicted Chinese students who struggle with each category listed.

As you can see, 31% of the Chinese students addicted to the internet reported that they stay online longer than originally intended. 29% lie to family members to conceal excessive internet use. 25% are unable to control internet use. Finally, 15% go online to escape from personal problems. These are very serious problems associated with using the internet and these students must change their ways before it becomes an even bigger problem.

China is not the only country with students addicted to the internet

While this study only focused on Chinese college students addicted to the internet, internet addiction unfortunately is a problem throughout the entire world. It was not until recent that people started actually treating internet addiction as a serious psychological disorder. Internet addiction is primarily prevalent in youth or young adults who have grown up in this technological advancement period.

Spain, Italy, and Australia have all developed in-patient treatment programs for adolescents with internet addictive behaviors. China estimates that 24 million young people are addicted to the internet. Japan and Taiwan have added internet addiction to their lists of medical disorders with millions of teens being addicted to the internet and their smartphones as well. Taiwan said that 15.3% of teens were addicted to the internet. In Iran, 19.4% of high school students were said to have internet addiction. Internet addiction is only becoming more apparent around the world and must be treated as a serious disorder.

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