Internet Addiction among Undergraduate
Students of Kuwait University
Dr. Samer Hamade
The Internet is a new technology that has influenced the world and has provided
many benefits to its users. In spite of the fact that the benefits of Internet have made
notable improvements in all fields, some users are becoming preoccupied with the
Internet, unable to control their use of this new technology, and are jeopardizing their
employment and personal relationships. This is known in the literature as Internet
Addiction (I A). Internet addiction or as many specialists call it Internet addiction
disorder, is viewed as a problem that is still difficult to be defined accurately. Beard
(2002) stated that "Internet addiction is an explanation for uncontrollable, damaging use
of this technology. Moreover, it is a warning sign that a person is having difficulty
controlling his or her internet use”. It is important to note that the term addiction in this
research, and the literature describing it, is only related to the Internet and not the
addiction in general. Recently, the use of Internet in Kuwait become is increased. It is
noticed that in short period of time the Internet become one of the most important interest
for majority of people.
Aims and Methodology
The purpose of this study is to define the term Internet addiction among students at
Kuwait University. Beside, this study Measures the awareness and the level of (IA)
among the students.
A questionnaire containing questions that describe Internet use and the different
levels of awareness and addiction will be distributed among Kuwait University students.
The questionnaire is divided into three parts;
1. Biographical questions
2. Questions about awareness
3. Questions about addiction.
Data will be gathered and analyzed using appropriate statistical techniques using SPSS.
The sample of students was randomly selected among students of college of social
sciences at Kuwait University. The number of students is 159 divided as 87 males and
72 females. Regarding the second part of the questionnaire, the score will be calculated as
If the participant has less than 20 points it means that he/she is not addicted, a score
between 20 and 40 means that he/she has low addiction, and finally score above 40
indicates high level of addiction.
Internet addiction or as many specialists call it Internet addiction disorder, is viewed
as a problem that is still difficult to be defined accurately. One of the reasons of having a
variety of different definitions is that the causes of Internet addiction are different from
one place to another. Another reason for having different definitions is that this term may
be defined differently by researchers that belong to different fields. For example,
sociologists will have different definitions than therapists in medical fields.
Internet addiction or as many specialists call it Internet addiction disorder, is
viewed as a problem that is still difficult to be defined accurately. One of the reasons of
having a variety of different definitions is that the causes of Internet addiction are
different from one place to another. Another reason for having different definitions is that
this term may be defined differently by researchers that belong to different fields. For
example, sociologists will have different definitions than therapists in medical fields.
Beard (2002) stated that "Internet addiction is an explanation for uncontrollable,
damaging use of this technology. Moreover, it is a warning sign that a person is having
difficulty controlling his or her internet use". Griffiths (2002), cited Young who claimed
that "internet addiction is a broad term that covers a wide variety of behaviors and
impulse control problems". In the same article Griffiths mentioned a similar term called
"technological addiction" and this term was defined operationally as "non-chemical
(behavioral) addictions that involve human-machine interaction.
Chack and Leung (2004) explained two reasons that may cause Internet addiction.
The first one is shyness, or the fear to meet people and Internet will offer alternatives for
people to gratify their social and emotional needs. The second reason is locus of control
which was referred to as a set of beliefs about how one behaves, and relationship of that
behavior to how one is rewarded or punished. They also added other important reasons
that may cause this type of addiction, such as loneliness, anxiety, depression, and self-
Whang, Lee and Chang (2003) stated that “when people get stressed out by work
or were just depressed, that may lead to a high tendency to access the Internet”.
Additionally, they mentioned how loneliness, depressed mood and compulsivity cause
Davis, Flett and Besser (2002) also agreed on the negative affect of shyness and
depression, but they also added two causes for Internet addiction which are
procrastination and rejection sensitivity.
Several studies indicate that an addiction to Internet has specific signs or
symptoms. These symptoms can indicate that one person is addicted to Internet and make
people realize that they are addicts. Otherwise, they will not be able to understand that
they are facing a grim problem.
Generally, for most addicts it can be extremely difficult to recognize that what
they have associated as simply a habit is actually an addiction. According to Illinois
Institute for Addiction Recovery sings of Internet addiction include the following:
• "Preoccupation with the Internet. (Thoughts about previous online activity or
anticipation of the next online session).
• Use the Internet in increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction.
• Repeated, unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use.
• Feeling of restlessness, moodiness, depression or irritability when attempting to
cut down use of the Internet.
• Staying online longer than originally intended.
• Jeopardized or risked loss of significant relationships, job, educational or career
opportunities because of Internet use.
• Lies to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement
with the Internet.
• Use of the Internet as a way to escape from problems or to relieve a dysphonic
mood. (e.g., feelings hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)." (Illinois…,2005)
According to Goldberg (n.d.), an M.D. from New York City and moderator of the
Internet Addiction Group mailing list, Internet addiction signs are:
• “Obsessive thinking about what is happening on the Internet.
• Fantasies or dreams about the Internet.
• Accessing the Internet more often or for longer periods of time than was intended.
• Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control Internet use.
• Great deal of time is spent in activities related to Internet use (e.g., buying
Internet books, trying out new WWW browsers, researching Internet vendors,
organizing files of downloaded materials).
• Important social, occupational, recreational activities are given up or reduced
because of Internet use.
• Internet use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent
physical, social, occupational, or psychological problem that is likely to have been
caused or exacerbated by Internet use (sleep deprivation, marital difficulties,
lateness for early morning appointment, neglect of occupational duties, or feelings
of abandonment in significant others)."
Egger and Rauterberg (1996) summarized the symptoms of Internet addiction as follow:
• “Preoccupation with a substance, relationship or behavior
• A loss of control over the use of a substance or pattern of behavior.
• Concerns expressed by others about the loss of control and the effects
• Continued, persistent use of a substance or involvement behavior in spite of
negative consequences." (Egger and Rauterberg 1996. p. 8)
As it was mentioned earlier, a large number of researchers agreed unanimously
that Internet addiction is a serious problem that needs to be studied and solved. Many
researchers have also found that Internet addiction has lots of consequences that affect
persons negatively and destroy their lives. Furthermore, almost all literature about the
topic ensures that such consequences may make the persons unable to build and develop
their societies. As a result, societies are building of units, and units consist of persons
then logically if these people are not valid the whole society will be destroyed.
Suler (2004) discussed the negative effects of Internet addiction, and stated that
"people may lose their jobs, or flunk out school, or are divorced by their spouses because
they can't resist devoting all of their time to virtual land. Those people are pathologically
Engelberg and Sjoberg (2004) also discussed the consequences, their point of
view is that "the Internet will cut the users off from genuine social relationships and
ultimately lead to impoverished participation in social life". Additionally, they debated
whether Internet use can be a potentially isolating the mediating effect of users' emotional
and social skills in real life. As a result of the study, they found that overusing the
Internet leads to social isolation.
Young (1998.) believes that "the use of the Internet can definitely disrupt
academic, social, financial, and occupational life the same way other addiction like
pathological gambling, eating disorder, and alcoholism". Moreover, Young (2004),
mentioned that “as the Internet permeates our lives at home, school, and work, it can also
create marital, academic, and job related problems
Results and discussions
After analyzing data, we found that part of the result was unexpected. Numbers and
percentages showed that students are aware of the (IA), but what is really was unexpected
is that the third part of the questionnaire that examine if the participant are addicted to
Internet was shown that only a small number of students are addicted. Optimistically,
such result can indicate how these students are aware of the consequences of the heavy
use of the Internet.
Level of awareness of (IA)