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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030475

Problematic Use of the Internet and Smartphones in University Students: 2006–2017

1
FPCEE Blanquerna, Universitat Ramon Llull, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
2
Departamento de Psicología, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
3
Serra Hunter Program, Generalitat de Catalunya, 08029 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet and Mobile Phone Addiction: Health and Educational Effects)
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Abstract

It has been more than a decade since a concern about the addictive use of the Internet and mobile phones was first expressed, and its possible inclusion into the lists of mental disorders has recently become a popular topic of scientific discussion. Thus, it seems to be a fitting moment to investigate the prevalence of this issue over time. The aim of the present study was to analyze the prevalence of the perception of problematic Internet and smartphone use in young people over the period 2006–2017. To this end, a questionnaire on Internet use habits and two questionnaires on the negative consequences of Internet and smartphone use were administered to a sample of 792 university students. The scores were then compared with the results of former studies that had used these questionnaires. The perception of problematic Internet and mobile phone use has increased over the last decade, social networks are considered responsible for this increase, and females are perceived to be more affected than males. The current study shows how strong smartphone and Internet addiction and social media overlap. Participants from 2017 report higher negative consequences of both Internet and mobile phone use than those from 2006, but long-term observations show a decrease in problematic use after a sharp increase in 2013. We conclude that the diagnosis of technological addictions is influenced by both time and social and culture changes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Internet addiction; mobile phone addiction; online social network; university students; technological addictions; behavioral addictions; CERI; CERM Internet addiction; mobile phone addiction; online social network; university students; technological addictions; behavioral addictions; CERI; CERM
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Carbonell, X.; Chamarro, A.; Oberst, U.; Rodrigo, B.; Prades, M. Problematic Use of the Internet and Smartphones in University Students: 2006–2017. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 475.

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