ASSESSMENT OF INTERNET ADDICTION AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ABUJA MUNICIPAL AREA COUNCIL
Ample research evidence indicates that addiction to the internet correlates with behavioural difficulties. This study assesses internet addiction and psychological distress among secondary school students. An ex post facto, cross-sectional research design using stratified sampling technique was adopted to recruit 200 students (120 males and 80 females between 14 and 19 years of age) drawn from three secondary schools in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). Instruments administered included Young’s Internet Addiction Test to measure internet addiction and the Kessler’s Psychological Distress Scale (K10) to measure psychological distress. Five hypotheses were tested using Pearson product-moment correlation and Independent Samples t-test. Results showed a significant relationship between internet addiction and psychological distress [r(192)=.0.40, P< .05] among secondary school students. However, gender does not significantly influence internet addiction [t(192)=0.04; p>.05]. The student’s age has a significant influence on the level of internet addiction [t(192) = -2.38; p <.05]. There is no significant gender difference in psychological distress among the students [t(192)=-0.209; p>.05] while age does influence psychological distress among them [t(192)=-0.254; p<.05]. It was concluded that the continuous use of the internet, despite its benefits, can lead to addiction; internet addiction is a social problem which negatively impacts on the lives of all, especially adolescents and secondary school students. It is recommended that students tread with caution on how they use the internet in order not to develop addiction, students should seek help regarding their internet use and psychological distress as well as age control measure be put in place to limit and prevent access to the internet hence psychological distress.
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