Special Report: 'Addicted' to the Internet

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

(Links for more information appear below.)

It's no surprise that college students spend time on the Internet.

"Six to eight hours," one student told us. "Socially, two and a half or three hours, way more than on school," another said.

What is surprising to some is just how much time.

"Twelve hours minimum," Michigan State University student Sachin Golhar told us.

Golhar says he spends hours just 'surfing.'

"Everywhere from Google Earth, MySpace, the Facebook. I'm usually on Facebook at least six hours a day," he said.

Rather than logging on to do homework assignments, Golhar is chatting with friends on what has arguably become the best procrastination tool money can buy. The habit has an impact on his schoolwork.

"If I had cut that time in half, my GPA would have risen by at least 50 percent," he told News 10.

Golhar agrees it is time wasted. But it's so easy to waste, he says. Every time he walks into his dorm room, there's a computer waiting with free Internet access.

"Going online is an addiction, literally," Golhar said.

A new on-campus study shows Sachin isn't alone. More and more student say overusing the Internet is affecting their studies.

"Now it's up to 18.5 percent of students," MSU Health Education Services Coordinator Dennis Martell said, citing the study.

That figure has doubled since 2000. And it's especially common among men. One in four male students on campus say the Internet is hurting their schoolwork.

"That's been the biggest increase of any health problem," Martell said.

And it is a health problem, he says. In a physical sense, because students aren't spending as much time out walking. But overuse of the Internet has mental affects, too, especially among new students to campus.

"Many of them get lonely. Many of them don't find their social group," Martell told News 10. "They find it on the Internet."

Still, Martell says the problem isn't unique to college campus. But he agrees with Sachin Golhar that college can nurture Internet addiction: Computers are required, the Internet access is free and no one is monitoring how much time you spend or waste.

"The only way to solve it is to get rid of the Internet altogether," Golhar said.

"And you're probably not going to do that?" a reporter asked.

"No," he said.

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For More Information:

Olin Health Center, Michigan State University

2002 National Study on College Students' Internet Use


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