- Scientists analyzed the Internet usage of 796 people to create the spectrum.
- ‘Casual users’ log in for specific tasks while ‘addicts’ acknowledge their problem
Do you feel lost without your smartphone in your hand and without a strong WiFi signal?
Scientists have developed a new spectrum of Internet addiction that reveals how dependent you are on having a connection.
At the lower end of the scale are “casual users,” who only connect to the Internet for specific tasks and log off without delay.
In contrast, “addicts” openly acknowledge their Internet addiction and recognize the negative impact it has on their lives.
So where do you fall on the Internet addiction scale?
Scientists have developed a new spectrum of Internet addiction that reveals how dependent you are on having a strong connection.
The spectrum of Internet addiction
Occasional users (14.86%): Connect to the Internet to perform specific tasks and log out without delay.
Initial users (22.86%): They often stay online longer than initially planned and are somewhat negligent with household chores.
Experimenters (21.98%): You feel uncomfortable or anxious when you are not connected to the Internet
Addicts in denial (17.96%): Displays addictive behaviors such as forming new relationships online and neglecting the real-world responsibilities of being online.
addicts (22.36%): They openly acknowledge their addiction to the Internet and recognize its negative impact on their lives.
To create the Internet addiction spectrum, researchers at the University of Surrey analyzed the Internet use of 796 participants.
This revealed that young people (aged 24 and under) spend an average of six hours a day online, mostly using their smartphones.
Meanwhile, older people (over 24 years old) spend an average of 4.6 hours online each day.
The team found no link between gender and Internet addiction.
Using the data, the researchers classified Internet users into five different categories.
About fifteen percent of users were classified as “occasional users,” who log on primarily for specific tasks and log off without delay.
Casual users show no signs of Internet addiction and are generally older, with an average age of 33.4 years, according to the researchers.
Next, 22.86 percent were classified as “initial users,” who often stay online longer than they had initially planned.
With an average age of 26.1 years, Initial Users are somewhat careless in household chores, but do not consider themselves addicts.
“Experimenters” make up 21.98 percent of Internet users and feel uncomfortable or anxious when not connected to the Internet.
Their average age is between 22.8 and 24.3 years.
Scientists have developed a new spectrum of Internet addiction that reveals how dependent it is on having a strong connection (file image)
Taking this to a higher level, 17.96 percent are “addicts in denial,” displaying addictive behaviors such as forming new relationships online and neglecting the real-world responsibilities of being online.
However, addicts in denial, who have an average age of 24, do not admit to feeling uncomfortable when they are offline.
Finally, 22.36 percent are classified as ‘Addicts’, and openly acknowledge their Internet addiction and recognize the negative impact on their lives.
Addicts are on average 24 years old and spend 1.6 times more time online than casual users.
Dr Brigitte Stangl, lead author of the study, said: “Our main goal was to clarify the difference between using the Internet problematic and being addicted to it.
“We found that the younger you are, the more likely you are to be addicted to the Internet, and this trend decreases with age.”
Since 2019, children and young adults in the UK who are severely addicted to the internet or computer games can seek help through the NHS.
In 2019, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: “Health needs are constantly changing, so the NHS must never stand still – this new service is a response to an emerging problem, part of the growing pressures on that children and young people are exposed to. until these days.’
However, based on the findings, researchers call for more personalized interventions.
Dr Stangl added: “Our study highlights the need for tailored interventions and support for people at different stages of Internet addiction.”