Smartphones and the internet are established in people's daily lives around the world. The internet and oriented technologies widely changed the way we live our lives. Though it helps us in various aspects of professional and private activities, day-by-day, the addictive behavior towards the internet among individuals is also increasing. Internet addiction test (IAT) is a psychometric tool used to assess people with internet addiction. It was developed by Dr. Kimberely Young in 1988; it is basically a 20-item questionnaire that aims at diagnosing internet addiction. It is one of the most utilized instruments for Internet addiction.
Nearly 4.66 billion people worldwide use the internet- that’s close to 60% of the World’s total population (Source: datareportal.com ). Internet users are currently growing at an annualized rate of more than 7%, most of them are connecting from smartphones, but computers also account for a decent share. Internet addiction is a behavioral addiction in which a person becomes dependent on the use of the Internet, or other online devices, as a maladaptive way of coping with life's stresses. Internet addiction has been widely recognized as a major health problem in various countries around the world.
Internet addiction is not formally included in addictive disorder, so its symptoms are collectively identified by the studies carried out by experts in the field of behavioral addiction. The major symptoms of Internet addiction are,
In the past few years, Internet addiction has been announced as a major National health problem in various countries. Internet addiction and Internet gaming disorder are the 2 major mental health issues faced by adolescents and adults, which lead to many psychological disorders, mood disorders, low self-esteem, and poor sleep quality.
In 2016, a research study found that those who have internet addiction are having trouble carrying on their day-to-day activities, work/study, loss of productivity, or socializing with the real world. They observed a pattern of higher rates of depression and mood disorders in those with internet addiction.
But none of the studies have proven the exact safe time to be spent on the internet or social media. With everyone working at home through the internet during a pandemic situation like this, we cannot just diagnose an internet addiction only with the no. of hours spent on the internet. So at this point, a psychometric tool like the Internet addiction test questionnaire comes to the rescue to measure various aspects of this behavioral addiction.
Dr. Young developed the Internet addiction test based on the DSIM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-IV) for Pathological gambling. Internet addiction test is a 20-item questionnaire, it measures the extent of an individual's problems due to the use of the internet in daily routine, social life, productivity, and sleeping patterns. The questionnaire's core concept is to assess how you feel while using the internet, how much it affects your mindfulness when the internet is not there.
The 20-item questionnaire is rated against a five-point Likert scale. The 5 response categories are “never,” “rarely,” “sometimes,” “often,” “very often,” and they are given a value of starting from 0 to 5. Each question's values are taken and summed up, which gives the overall score for the Internet addiction test. So the score for the Internet addiction test ranges from 0 - 100.
Take your Internet Addiction Test, and check your addiction level.
Based on the Internet addiction test's total score, the individual who takes the assessment will be placed under three categories.
Normal Internet user: A score of 0-19 comes under this category, who has full control of his/her internet usage. There are absolutely no signs of addiction at this level.
Mild Internet addiction: A score of 20-39 comes in mild addiction level; they face certain problems here and there due to internet usage.
Moderate Internet addiction: This category mark a score of 40-69; they face frequent problems due to excessive usage of the internet. They are more irritable due to boredom when not using the internet.
Severe Internet addiction: This is the highest of the scale, marked by 70-100. This exhibits severe addiction symptoms of Internet addiction like they don’t know the hours they have seamlessly spent on the internet. They want ever-increasing time on the internet, gradually taking over everything they need to do. This really needs therapy; otherwise, it leads to other serious mental disorders.
Internet addiction test is the successful and most validated assessment tool to measure internet addiction in adults. The Internet addiction test has shown higher internal consistency and Test-retest reliability of the available tools for internet addiction.
Several instruments have been developed for internet addiction estimation, but Dr. Young’s Internet addiction test is proven to exhibit a high correlation with the clinical examination results.
IAT shows a high criterion validity, It means the extent to which a measure is related to the outcome. Internet addiction test is proved to be a useful tool with strong criterion validity for identifying possible internet addiction cases.
On average, a global internet user spends almost 7 plus hours on the internet. We cannot completely overlook the advantages of the internet and its related technologies, but knowingly or unknowingly, one among us is entering into an addictive behavior every day. Generation Z or the millennials born just before the digital era are the most Tech literate generation so far; keeping them completely away from the internet is impossible, but drawing a line between addiction and self-control is the best thing we can do to maintain our overall mental health.
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