Patterns of Internet Use among Saudi Public Adults: A Cross Sectional Study

Eman Dawood, Rufa Mitsu, Agnes Monica


Background: Internet has emerged as an integral part of most people’s daily lives globally. Current research indicated that some internet users worldwide experience personal and professional tribulations due to the time they spent online. Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine patterns of internet use among Saudi adults in central region of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Methods: A descriptive correlation, cross – sectional research design was utilized to conduct the current study on a convenience sample of 678 adults who were recruited from public areas of highest community assembly points such as shopping malls, parks, outpatient clinics waiting areas high schools, colleges and universities and gave voluntary consent to participate in the study. Participants were asked to complete the two part questionnaire survey including participant’s demographic background and Internet Addiction Test (IAT) Young (1998). An explanation about the purpose and the nature of the study was offered for each individual potential participant. Subjects were assured about the confidentiality of the collected data and that it will be only used by the researcher for the purpose of the current study. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 18. Results: Average daily internet use among participants ranged between 30 minutes to 24 hours per day (M = 7.03, SD+ 4.97). Hundred percent of the participants reported that they have internet access at home while 70.8% have internet access at work and 61.7% of the participants had mobile internet access all time. More than 50% of the participants reported that they often lose sleep due to late-night log-ins or found themselves saying “just a few more minutes” when on-line. Internet use among Saudi participants included in the current study didn’t negatively impact their grades or school works because of the amount of time they spend on-line (less than 25% of the study participants). Majority of the participants didn’t try to hide how long they’ve been on-line (more than 75%), and more than 50% of the participants didn’t use the internet to form new relationships with fellow on-line users. Conclusion: Although the identified percentage of Saudi adult participants fitting to the category of internet addiction is very low but still the results show that major percentage of participants had occasional problems which can be considered as a bridge to internet addiction. Accordingly there is a need to gain insight into the problem and develop and expand awareness about the harmful consequences of maladaptive internet use through interactive programs and mass media.

Keywords: internet addiction, pathological internet use, problematic internet use, maladaptive internet use

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