Nalwa, K. and Anand, A.P., Punjabi University, India
The Internet was originally designed to facilitate communication and research activities. However, the dramatic increase in the use of the Internet in the recent years has led to pathological use or Internet addiction. This study is a preliminary investigation of the extent of Internet addiction in school children (16-18years), in India. The Davis Online Cognition Scale (DOCS), (Davis, 2001) was used to assess pathological Internet use. On the basis of total scores obtained (N=100) on the DOCS, two groups were identified, viz that of dependents (18) and nondependents (21) using Mean 1/2 SD as the criterion for selection. The UCLA Loneliness Scale (Russell, 1996) was also administered to the subjects. Significant behavioral and functional usage differences were revealed between the two groups. Dependents were found to delay other work to spend time online, loose sleep due to late night logons and felt life would be boring without internet. The hours spent on the Internet by the dependents were more as compared to non-dependents. On the loneliness measure also significant differences were found between the two groups, with dependents scoring higher than the non-dependents.