An internet addict is an individual who has lost control over their internet use, for example in relation to online gaming and social media. In this context, online gaming refers to video games that are not played for money (e.g., World of Warcraft, Runescape, Call of Duty, etc.).
For internet addicts, overuse of the internet typically manifests itself as addictive video game playing, constant use of social media or compulsive information seeking. It becomes concerning when internet use begins to significantly interfere with one's hobbies, social interactions, studies, or work. Recognizing the distinction between the desire and the necessity to use the internet is crucial since internet addiction cannot be solely determined by the amount of time spent online.
The IAT (Internet Addiction Test) is the first validated test in Finnish for online addicts. The test was developed by psychologist and online addiction expert Kimberly Young in 1998. It was originally developed to measure the level of addiction and dependence in adults. Today, it is used to detect problematic internet addiction in a variety of settings, including clinics, schools, hospitals, and other settings.
The IAT (Internet Addiction Test) serves as a self-assessment tool that allows individuals to evaluate whether their symptoms and level of internet use should raise concerns. By utilising the IAT, individuals can measure the problems associated with their internet use and assess the impact on personal, professional, and social functioning.
No need to write the answers by yourself
The average time to complete the survey
Indicate the harms of internet use and possible internet addiction
The increased use of the internet has contributed to a steady rise in the number of internet addicts. Several factors can predispose individuals to develop internet addiction, including a lack of social support, feelings of loneliness, impulsivity, sensitivity to stress, and the intensity of emotional responses to online content. Both internet and video game addictions are associated with increased levels of depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and poor school performance.
When internet use or gaming spirals out of control, addicts may experience a range of health problems. These can include sleep issues, difficulties with concentration, disconnection from the real world and social relationships, and restlessness when unable to engage in online activities. Internet addicts also frequently lose interest in other hobbies. Other disadvantages may include a decline in functional ability, which can result in poor academic and work performance or in worse social relationships.
The widespread adoption of smartphones has led to an increased use of the internet and made it easier to play online video games. App algorithms and the constant presence of phones are making the internet a more and more addictive place. As a result, the number of individuals struggling with online addiction continues to rise, with particular concern surrounding its impact on young people. Teenagers are especially sensitive to experiencing both acceptance and rejection on social media platforms, making them more vulnerable to internet addiction. According to THL’s study in 2019, 81% of students play online games. Smartphone addiction is more common among girls, while online gaming addiction is more often a problem for boys.
Although online addiction has been recognised for over twenty years, the definition of an internet addict is still not clear. Lääkärilehti estimated in 2020 that the global number of internet addicts is between 1–36%, depending on culture and definition criteria. According to a 2018 news report by Yle, reliable statistics on internet addiction are not yet available in Finland because the criteria for defining internet addiction remain unclear, but the numbers have been increasing over time. Somerajaton estimated in 2020, that the number of Finns meeting the criteria for internet addiction will be around 2–5% of the population.
Number of people with video gaming problems
1.3% of Finns (48 700 people) had played video games problematically.
Concerns about video gaming
Among Finns who had played video games in the previous 12 months, up to 11% felt their video gaming was problematic.
Prevalence of social media addiction
It is estimated that around 2-5% of the population in Finland meets the criteria for social media dependence.