Globally, more than three billion people use the internet daily with young people being the most common users. Internet addiction among university students in Ethiopia has not been studied.
The main objective of this study was to assess the prevalence and related factors of internet addiction among Wollo university students in Ethiopia.
A community university-based cross-sectional study was conducted among Wollo University students from April 10 to May 10, 2019. A total of six hundred three students were participated in the study using a pilot tested and self-administered structured questionnaire. A multistage cluster sampling was adopted for this study. In the first stage, by the use of lottery method, two colleges (College of medicine and health sciences, and College of natural sciences, and one school (school of law)) were selected. In the second stage, 18 departments were selected from the colleges and school. The Young’s Internet Addiction Test instrument was used to assess the level of internet addiction.
Generally, the prevalence of internet addiction (IA) among the current internet users was 85% (n=466) with 55.7%(n=305) mild internet addiction, 27.9% (n=153) moderate internet addiction and 1.5% (n= 8) severe internet addiction. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, spending more time on the internet (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 10.13, 95%CI: 1.33-77.00)), having mental distress (AOR = 2.69, 95%CI: 1.02-7.06), playing online games (AOR = 2.40, 95%CI: 1.38-4.18), current khat chewing (AOR = 3.34, 95%CI: 1.14-9.83) and current alcohol use (AOR = 2.32, 95%CI: 1.09-4.92) were positively related to internet addiction. Using the internet for more than twelve months (AOR = 0.42, 95%CI: 0.18-0.96) and using the internet by mobile internet (AOR = 0.40, 95%CI: 0.20-0.83) were negatively related to internet addiction.
The current study documents a high prevalence of internet addiction among Wollo University students. Factors independently associated with internet addiction were using the internet greater than five hours daily, having mental distress, playing online games, current khat chewing and current alcohol use. So, we advise that higher institutions should establish prevention programs focus on educating students about emotional regulation skills and the harmful effects of substance use to minimize internet addiction.