An online survey of 96 adults showed that, based on Young's (1998) criteria for the Internet Addiction Test, 40% of the sample could be classified as average internet users, 52% as problem over-users and 8% as pathologically addicted to the internet. The three groups differed on a range of factors, with over-users and addicts spending increasingly more time in online activities, being more neurotic and less extraverted, more socially anxious and emotionally lonely, and gaining greater support from internet social networks than average internet users. Further analysis revealed that only neuroticism and perceived support from online social networks were significant predictors of excessive internet use. In addition, over-users were found to be younger and less experienced in computer use than average or addicted users. Further research is needed to explicate the role of personality and track the possible pathways from novice over-use to eventual average use or pathological addiction.
Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society 2007