In recent years, the use of the internet has skyrocketed. The internet appears to have an ever-increasing part of many people’s day-to-day lives. Internet addiction is a new phenomenon of today’s plastic age. In fact, for some people, the computer world rivals their real world. Currently, Internet addiction is not an official disorder, and many mental health professionals are not certain if it ever should be considered a real disorder. Nevertheless, compulsive Internet use is a serious problem for many people, and there are methods that can be helpful in alleviating this problem.
Issues on the excessive use of internet or internet addiction, first studied by Young (1996), have been widely explored from different angles and several scales have been developed to study the matter empirically.
According to a review by Widyanto and Griffiths (2006, as cited in Azim et al. 2009), it is summarized that empirical research on ‘internet addiction’ can be categorized into five areas:
1)comparison between excessive internet users and non-excessive users, 2)survey studies on vulnerable groups of excessive internet use, 3)studies on the psychometric properties of excessive internet use, 4)case studies on excessive internet users and the treatment, and 5)correlational studies examining the relationship of excessive internet use with other behaviours.
Students in general, are not restricted to specific working or studying hours, and they have a number of term breaks and holidays throughout the year. In addition to that, Kandell (1998, as cited in Azim et al, 2009) stated that college students usually have free and easily accessed connections, meaning that internet use is both implicitly and explicitly encouraged by a recognized, institutional authority. Furthermore, due to high necessity of internet connection for both academic and organizational purposes, most education institutions today do provide internet access for the students in the campus.
Young (2004) identified several factors contributing to student internet abuse. These include free unlimited internet access, huge blocks of unstructured time, newly experienced freedom from parental control, no monitoring of what they say or do online, full encouragement from faculty and administrators, and social intimidation and alienation.
The vulnerable groups mentioned earlier refer to the student population, which for this research would be the Mass Communication and the Nursing students. Students are deemed to be vulnerable and at risk of internet addiction as they have easy access to the internet and have more flexibility with time (Moore, 1995, as cited in Widyanto and Griffiths).
Mass Communication students are taught to be familiar and efficient on technology and media, especially on the internet, as the internet now is the fastest form of communication and information gathering. To be kept updated on events and news, social media such as ‘facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ is necessary for a mass communication student. Mass communication students are therefore more exposed to internet in comparison to most other academic batches such as the nursing students.
Nursing students, however, are not known to be technological savvy as the focus of their studies revolves around medical studies whether on theory or practical. For that reason, the nursing students will be categorized as normal students that receives the general exposure of the internet.
Although there has been thorough researches conducted on internet addiction on students worldwide and on gender in Malaysia (Azim et al, 2009), there has yet been a research conducted between two different batch of students from different academic batches in a campus.
Currently in SEGi University College, Mass Communication students are more exposed to the internet in their educational field while Nursing students are not. Little is known in this current day and age whether Mass Communication students are more...