Problematic internet use is an emerging mental health issue that is characterised by an inability to control or regulate time spent online, which leads to substantial psychological distress. Poor sleep, low mood, and decreased productivity are just a few of the problems associated with excessive online activity.
Recent research suggests that university students are especially vulnerable to problematic internet use, and that excessive internet use among students is associated with poorer academic outcomes and reduced motivation to study, as well as experiences of loneliness, anxiety and depressive symptoms. However, the internet is also a source of education, social connection and entertainment, so how harmful can it really be?
We currently have a very limited understanding of what processes in the mind may be driving problematic internet use, and few studies have focused on how this issue may be influencing Australian students. This research project explores how problematic internet use may be affecting the way we think, feel and behave.