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Cyberpsychol Behav. 2009 Dec;12(6):675-9. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0060.

Instant messaging addiction among teenagers in China: shyness, alienation, and academic performance decrement.

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School of Journalism & Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.


This exploratory research proposes the concept of instant messaging (IM) addiction and examines (a) whether IM addiction exists among Chinese teenagers and, if so, who the addicts are, what their symptoms are, and to what extent they are addicted; (b) whether psychological variables such as shyness and alienation can predict IM use or addiction among teenagers; and (c) whether IM use or IM addiction can impair the academic performance of teenagers. Using Young's classic definition of Internet addiction, results of a stratified random sample of 330 teenagers in China in 2007 found 95.8% of participants use IM, and 9.8% of them can be classified as IM addicts. Factor analysis identified four major IM addiction symptoms among teenagers: preoccupation with IM, loss of relationships due to overuse, loss of control, and escape. Results also showed that shyness and alienation from family, peers, and school are significantly and positively associated with levels of IM addiction. As expected, both the level of IM use and level of IM addiction are significantly linked to teenagers' academic performance decrement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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