ASSESSMENT OF INTERNET DEPENDENCY IN UNDERGRADUATE ROMANIAN STUDENTS
More and more, people have broadband connections in their homes that give them continuous access to the Internet. The objective of this study is to investigate the differences in internet addiction between first year undergraduate students from three Romanian faculties.
A cross-sectional survey was carried out among students. The data was gathered through a written questionnaire containing the Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS)(Meerkerk et al., 2009) that contains 14 items ratable on a 5-point Likert scale. To measure time spent online, the respondents were asked how many days per week they were online for private purposes (8-point scale: every day to less than once a week) and how many hours they spent online on a typical day they used the Internet (8-point scale: 7 hours or more to less than 1 hour). The average number of hours per week online was estimated by multiplying the number of days per week with the number of hours per typical day.
153 participants answered the questionnaire: 55 from Faculty of Dentistry, 45 from College of Dental Technicians (University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila", Bucharest) and 53 from Faculty of Chemistry (University of Bucharest). Respondents were on average aged 20.36 (SD 2.05) years, and 74.5%) of them were women. Most (98.69%) respondents reported to be online every day for private purposes, and the majority (90.19%) spends over 2 hours on the Internet on an online day. Most (98.69%) respondents reported to be logged on Facebook every day, and the majority (88.23%) spends over 2 hours on the Facebook daily. On average, the respondents spend 14.75 (SD 15.93) hours per week online and 11.78 (SD 16.42) hours per week on Facebook. The average score on the CIUS of all respondents was 27.71 (SD 9.03) points with a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 59 points. Using a cut-off score of 28 resulted in a prevalence of CIU of 43.79% among the respondents (the heavy users) of this sample. No gender differences were found related to the number of hours per week spend online (P>0.05) or on Facebook (P>0.05) or on the overall CIUS score (27.67 ± 9.47 vs. 27.84 ± 7.64, P>0.05). In the whole sample, age did not correlated with CIUS score (P>0.05). When the type of faculty was analyzed, no differences were found between chemistry, dental technicians and dental students related to the number of hours per week spend online (13.53 ± 14.76 vs. 11.95 ± 14.13 vs. 18.14 ± 17.91, P>0.05) or on Facebook (12.09 ± 17.39, 12.43 ± 16.09 vs. 10.96 ± 15.99, P>0.05) or on the overall CIUS score (28.33 ± 9.20 vs. 26.71 ± 8.40 vs. 27.93 ± 9.44, P>0.05).
The data suggest that first year students are heavy internet users, less able to control their use of the internet, which makes them more vulnerable to develop CIU.