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1- Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Haldwani.
2- Department of Physiology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Fort Road, Near Tipu Sultan Palace, Bengaluru.
Abstract:  
Background: With the inclusion of Internet in daily lifestyle, it has become crucial to explore its purpose, effects on mental health and to understand the implications. As adolescence is a vulnerable age group, this study has taken Indian medical students in late adolescence to understand how Internet impacts their lives.
Objectives: 1. To explore the severity of problematic Internet use ‘PIU’ in Indian medical students.
2.         To assess its effects on psychological health and loneliness.
3.         To correlate problematic Internet use with the purpose of use.
 Materials And Methods:185 first MBBS students of BMCRI (Mean age- 18.075 years) were administered 4 questionnaires- Young’s Internet Addiction test, UCLA loneliness questionnaire (Version 3), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ12) and a self administered questionnaire to assess purpose of Internet usage.
Results: Out of 185 students, 67 were average users who showed control over their use of Internet and 118 had PIU (113 with frequent, 5 with significant problems). Significant positive correlation was found between PIU and psychological morbidity (r=0.3442, p<0.0001) as well as loneliness (r=0.2045, p= 0.0051). Daily average use of Internet was mostly for social media (51.2%) followed by academics (20%), others (20%) and gaming (8.2%). PIU was significantly positively correlated to social media usage (r=0.2666, p= 0.0002) as well as negatively correlated to academics (r= -0.372, p<0.0001).
Conclusion: In our study, PIU was positively correlated to poor psychological health, loneliness and use for social media. It showed negative correlation with academics. This may suggest that PIU is linked to psychosocial implications. It may be worthwhile correlating purpose of use with severity of PIU. Social media seems to be of importance in India as opposed to China, where gaming is the major concern. As some activities could be more addictive than others leading to dysfunctional lifestyle, Internet use must be regulated and used judiciously.
Type of Study: Original | Subject: Cognitive Neuroscience
Received: 2021/03/24 | Accepted: 2021/05/12

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