Internet Use and Its Impact on Secondary School Students in Chiang Mai, Thailand

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INTERNET USE AND ITS IMPACT ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

Kesaraporn Wanajak BNS MSc (Pharmacology)

This thesis is presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science Edith Cowan University

June 2011

EDITH COWAN UNIVERSITY

USE OF THESIS

This copy is the property of Edith Cowan University. However the literary rights of the author must also be respected. If any passage from this thesis is quoted or closely paraphrased in a paper or written work prepared by the user, the source of the passage must be acknowledged in the work. If the user desires to publish a paper or written work containing passages copied or closely paraphrased from this thesis, which passages would in total constitute an infringing copy for the purposes of the Copyright Act, he or she must first obtain the written permission of the author to do so.

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ABSTRACT

Internet addiction (IA) is a relatively new field of academic inquiry. Empirical studies suggest that IA, like other well researched addictive behaviours, has an effect on many aspects of a person‟s life, including academic/work performance, relationships, and physical and mental health (Goldberg, 1996; Young, 1996, 1998). Evidence of IA has been suggested by the findings that some Internet users spend increasingly longer periods of time online and experience withdrawal symptoms when offline. Those preoccupied with Internet-related activities may neglect exercise, family and social activities (Kim et al., 2010; Nalwa & Anand, 2003; Seo, Kang, & Yom, 2009; S. Yang & Tung, 2007; Young, 1998, 2004). Problems arising from excessive Internet use have been documented worldwide, including in Thailand where the use of the Internet has increased noticeably (National Statistical Office, 2008a, 2008b, 2010). It is a particularly common problem among students, as demonstrated in several international studies (Ko, Yen, Yen, Lin, & Yang, 2007; Konstantinos, Evaggelia, Dimitrios, Odysseas, & Nikiforos, 2008; Lam, Peng, Mai, & Ing 2009; Lee et al., 2007; Niemz, Griffiths, & Banyard, 2005; Thomas & Martin, 2010; Zboralski et al., 2009). However, few researchers have investigated IA and its impacts on Thai secondary school students. This thesis fills a gap in the international IA literature by developing a consensus definition and diagnostic criteria of IA, investigating the prevalence of IA among Thai secondary school students, as well as conducting an exploration of the impacts of IA on these students and their prevalence. A mixed methods research design was employed. This study was conducted in three stages. The first stage of this study employed a modified Delphi Technique among 22 Thai addiction experts („the Delphi panel‟) to develop a consensus definition of IA, to identify diagnostic criteria for classifying those affected, and to suggest potential strategies for harm-minimisation. The second stage consisted of an online survey of 952 Thai secondary school students in Chiang Mai, Thailand, conducted in order to assess the prevalence of IA among Thai secondary school students and identify its impacts from the point of view of these students. The last stage of this study employed structured in-depth interviews with 30 randomly chosen students who agreed to be

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interviewed from among those who participated in the online survey, to gain a better understanding of IA. Ten diagnostic criteria for classifying IA were identified from the Delphi panel: 1) Neglecting other activities to spend time on the Internet; 2) Having relationship problems with family members, friends, or others; 3) Having academic problems, such as school absences, poor grades, or low performance due to Internet use; 4) Being unable to control, decrease or stop use of the Internet; 5) Emerging negative behaviours, such as acting aggressively, yelling, swearing and unprovoked bad temper, isolation, sleep...
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