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Students and Internet Addiction: Is It A Problem?

Computers, technology, and the internet have become part of a competitive education. A great deal of college work is now done online – from passing in papers, to class discussion threads, and social networking. These innovations have created new ways to learn and interact with other students and teachers. New spaces online can be important communities and forums for discussion, news, debate, and thinking. But in recent years, parents’ concern over their students’ internet time has increased. This is a legitimate concern.

We’ll spend a few blog posts in the next few weeks to look at a few of the issues surrounding students and the internet. Today – here’s what you should know about students and internet addiction.

Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is real.

Although the last version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fourth edition, 2000) did not include the disorder, the American Psychological Association (APA) has officially recognized the disorder. To be diagnosed with IAD, a person must meet three or more of the criteria set by the APA: developing a tolerance to the internet and increased sustained use, withdrawal symptoms, surfing the internet for longer than intended, social isolation from friends and family.

College students are especially susceptible.

But because college students are away from home, dealing with a new environment, and maybe dealing with social anxiety or underlying psychological issues (depression), the internet more easily becomes a coping mechanism and addictive activity instead of an educational tool. Free internet access, wireless campuses, and convenient computer kiosks also add to the potential for addiction. At lunch or during class breaks, laptops, smart phones, and iPads come out – it may seem insignificant, but these simple actions can contribute to addiction.

The consequences can hurt.

Surfing the internet, chatting, and checking e-mail might seem harmless enough, but if these habits are so engrained in daily routine that students lose interest in real-life social activities, groups, or school work, the repercussions can be painful and hard to deal with. The stereotypical, withdrawn, shy internet chatter might take over your personality – a real concern. School work might suffer – and studies at various colleges have shown even high SAT testers and successful high school have later failed in college due to internet addiction. Another consequence common to internet addiction? Debt.

Next time we’ll discuss specific warning signs, and where to find out more about IAD.


This article is titled, “Students And Internet Addiction – Is It A Problem?” It was written by Marta Casey, a writer at Top Test Prep’s team.

To learn more about Top Test Prep’s programs, call (800) 501-Prep.

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