New On-Line Survey Designed to Define What It Means to Be "Addicted" to The Internet

Release Date: February 5, 1996 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Is there such a thing as Internet addiction? If so, what is it? How extensive is it? While people are talking about the phenomenon, to date it's not been well-documented.

A University at Buffalo doctoral student is answering that challenge with the first on-line survey of the psychological effects of Internet use and abuse in hopes of identifying what it means to be "addicted to the Net."

"Psychologists and counselors are starting to see cases of what could be called Internet addiction, but there is no real research on the phenomenon," explained Viktor Brenner, doctoral student in the UB Department of Psychology.

"With this survey, I am trying to research what constitutes Internet addiction and what its parameters are."

Michael Raulin, Ph.D., UB professor of psychology, who is supervising Brenner's dissertation, said the survey represents "one of the first opportunities we will have to get a broader sampling of this behavior and to find out how severe it is. It may give us an idea of some of the factors that may be responsible for increasing or decreasing the risks of this kind of compulsive behavior."

The survey includes questions about the respondent's background and then asks how much time he or she spends on different parts of the Net.

More than once, I have gotten less then 4 hours of sleep in a night because I was using the Net.

I have used the Net to make myself feel better when I was down.

I have shared a deep, dark secret with a person on the Net.

I have gotten a bill for (on-line) services that was twice what I expected.

Brenner, whose eclectic background includes work with anxiety disorders and managed-care issues, designed the survey based on his clinical knowledge of alcohol and drug addiction. He is employed at the Marquette University Counseling Center.

Brenner's Internet usage survey may be accessed by pointing any graphics-based World Wide Web browser to

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