Internet Addiction and Loneliness Among Children and Adolescents in the Education Setting: An Empirical Pilot Study

Halley Miguel Pontes, Mark D Griffiths, Ivone Martins Patrão


Research into various behavioural addictions has shown that such behaviour can negatively impact psychological wellbeing. One behavioural addiction that has been increasingly studied empirically is that of Internet Addiction (IA). Despite general consensus concerning the negative effects of IA on mental health and other indices of physical and psychosocial health, little research has been done in child and adolescent populations in specific contexts. The main objectives of this study were to (i) investigate the extent of problems caused by IA in children and adolescents, (ii) determine the socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics of children and adolescents with IA, and (iii) to provide a model capable of predicting IA in the educational context among the target population. A total of 131 Portuguese school children and adolescents participated in this study. Results indicated a relatively high incidence of IA in the sample (13%). Additionally, the correlational analyses revealed associations between IA and loneliness, social loneliness, and other variables related to the educational context. Results demonstrated that IA could be predicted using a model encompassing three variables (i.e., weekly Internet usage, loneliness, and classroom behaviour). Overall, the present findings corroborated results from other studies and added to the behavioural addiction literature by examining a younger cohort than previous empirical studies.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Halley Miguel Pontes, Mark D Griffiths, Ivone Martins Patrão

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