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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36-42

Internet abuse in children and adolescents during COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt


1 Associate Prof of Psychiatry, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
2 Associate Prof. Of Public Health, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
3 Associate Prof. Of Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Heba Essam Abou El Wafa
Associate Prof of Psychiatry, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ejpsy.ejpsy_43_20

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Intro duction Internet addiction among children and adolescents is a serious issue they face and can present with an array of negative consequences. The lockdown owing to COVID-19 pandemic has increased the possibility of this type of addiction. Aim To investigate the prevalence of internet abuse among Egyptian children and adolescents during COVID-19 pandemic and to explore factors associated with internet abuse. Patients and methods An online cross-sectional survey was carried out among school children and adolescents (aged 6–18) at Alexandria, Egypt, using the online SurveyMonkey platform. The survey questionnaire included data about demographic characteristics, lifestyle practices, and internet use during and before the pandemic in addition to the translated Young’s Internet Addiction Test. Results The questionnaire was completed by 580 children and adolescents. During the period of COVID-19 pandemic and according to Young’s Internet Addiction Test, only 14.66% of participants were considered as average internet users, the majority (74.65%) were problematic users, and 10.69% were classified as internet addicts. Lack of regular exercises during the period of pandemic was significantly higher among internet addicts as compared with average and problematic users (P=0.018). Lack of good parent–child relationship and lack of supervision from the side of the parents on their children and adolescents were significantly associated with higher probability of internet addiction or being a problematic user (P=0.001 and 0.002, respectively). Older children and adolescents were at a higher risk for internet addiction. Conclusion Special attention should be given to the pattern of internet use among children and adolescents. Parents should be encouraged to control internet use among children and adolescents through encouraging physical activity, lifestyle modification, offering alternatives, intermittent supervision, strengthening the relation with them, and providing support.


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