Net addiction a campus problem?

A new journal about psychology and interactive technologies claims Net addiction on college campuses is a "rapidly growing epidemic."

Paul Festa Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Paul Festa
covers browser development and Web standards.
Paul Festa
Long heralded as a boon and increasingly as a necessity to university education, the Internet is now being linked to academic failure.

The problem, according to an article appearing in a new journal about psychology and interactive technologies, is that students are falling victim to so-called Internet addiction. And a few universities are trying to stem the tide by imposing restrictions on Net usage and offering counseling to wean addicted students from the wires.

The article, "Internet Addiction on Campus: the Vulnerability of College Students," calls Internet addiction on campus a "rapidly growing epidemic" and cites individual college statistics and events to bolster its claim. According to the article:

  • A University of Michigan study showed that first- and second-year undergraduates spent an average of ten hours per week online. Eighteen percent spent at least 20 hours online.

  • Alfred University administrators claim that academic dismissal rates have more than doubled thanks to increased Internet use.

  • The University of Washington has established time limits on Internet usage.

    The article, by University of Maryland at College Park researcher Jonathan Kandell, is published in the first issue of CyberPsychology and Behavior: The Impact of the Internet, Multimedia, and Virtual Reality on Behavior and Society. The print quarterly, which launched this month, also features articles on online mental health services, the gender gap in Internet usage, a link between depression and Internet addiction, and the application of virtual reality in psychotherapy.