Problematic Internet Use (PIU) Among Adolescents during COVID-19 Lockdown: A Study of High School Students in Ibadan, Nigeria
Ilesanmi, Olayinka Stephen
Afolabi, Aanuoluwapo Adeyimika
Adebayo, Ayodeji Matthew
LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg
Problematic internet use (PIU) has generally been strongly associated with depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, especially among adolescents, with resulting consequences for their health. This study explores the pattern of internet use, and the prevalence of PIU before and during the COVID-19 lockdown, as well as the causes, effects, and potential mitigation measures in respect of PIU during the lockdown, among high school students in Ibadan, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire, including a 20-question internet addiction test (IAT), was administered during the COVID-19 lockdown to 440 adolescents enrolled in high schools. Of these adolescents, 7.7% appeared from their responses to have had PIU before the COVID-19 lockdown period. However, 64.3% of respondents appeared from their responses to have had PIU during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The main reasons for the increased PIU were boredom, loneliness, idleness, pleasure gained from internet use, physical isolation, and the need for information and communication. The effects of PIU reported among the adolescents included reduced family intimacy, poor academic performance, loss of concentration, as well as internet abuse and risky sexual behaviour. To mitigate PIU among high school students, parental monitoring of adolescents, and their internet access and use, should be promoted. In addition, programmes should be organised by the media and academic institutions to keep adolescents engaged in productive tasks.
problematic internet use (PIU), internet addiction test (IAT), adolescents, high school students, COVID-19, lockdown, Ibadan, Nigeria
Ilesanmi, O.S., Afolabi, A.A., & Adebayo, A.M. (2021). Problematic internet use (PIU) among adolescents during COVID-19 lockdown: A study of high school students in Ibadan, Nigeria. The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC), 27, 1-22. https://doi.org/10.23962/10539/31373