Published: 2021-07-27

Internet usage among medical students: prevalence, addiction and health issues

Rini Raveendran, Rajany Jose, Sabitha Rose Jacob, Ancy S. George, Vinayak N., Mubashir Muhyudheen K., Greeshma S., Revathi Unni, Aswani K. S.


Background: Among students worldwide, internet addiction is becoming a major problem. As the number of internet users continue to grow explosively, social networking too grows exponentially. Therefore, it is important to study internet behaviour patterns. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence and characteristics of internet usage, addiction among medical students.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was done among 227 medical students. Students aged between 17-24 years was selected by simple random sampling technique from the college. A self-administered questionnaire was used. It includes questions pertaining to sociodemographic status, attitude, practice based and Young’s internet addiction test.

Results: The prevalence of internet addiction was 59%.113 (49.8%) students were average online users (mild addiction), 19 (8.4%) students were experiencing occasional and frequent problems (moderate addiction) and 2 (0.8%) severely addicted students Most of the study population initiated internet use between the ages of 16 -18 years, 89 (39%). Our study revealed that 196 (86.3%) students were using internet for educational purposes, 135 (59.5%) for entertainment and 189 (83.2%) for socialising. Headache was the commonest health problem 102 (44%) followed by sleep disturbances in 40 (17.6%), back pain in 14 (6.1%) and anxiety, stress, visual difficulties in 29 (15%) students.

Conclusions: This research provides an insight into the current trend towards usage of the internet for academic as well as non-academic purposes among medical students. Health issues are a long term concern which need to be addressed on a war footing. Ergonomically placed interventional strategies are pertinent as a primary level of prevention.



Medical students, Internet addiction, Prevalence

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