Background: Internet has become a structural part of our day to day life. With smartphones, tablets and the cheap rates of mobile data, internet is “at the fingertips” to the general population. Engineering college students are the most vulnerable group to develop internet addiction. Hence, present study was conducted to assess the extent of internet addiction, its effect on health and various factors influencing internet addiction.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted at a private engineering college for a period of 4 months. Data was collected from the study subjects having access to the internet for the past 6 months after obtaining written informed consent using a self-administered, semi-structured questionnaire. The Internet addiction test (IAT; Young, 1998), a 20-item 5-point likert scale and Duke’s health profile, a 17-item generic questionnaire instrument were used to assess internet addiction and health status. Data was analysed using SPSS 20.0 version.
Results: The extent of internet addiction was found to be 48.1% among the Engineering students. The physical, mental, general, perceived health score was significantly higher among the normal students whereas anxiety, depression, pain and disability score was significantly higher among internet addicts. Arguments in the family, use of internet for more than 3 hours/day and spending more than 200 rupees/month for internet were significantly associated with internet addiction.
Conclusion: Internet Addiction among the study subjects was found to be high, leading to mental health problems. Healthy family environment and less use of internet would overcome the issues.