An Exploratory Study on the Perceived Motivations Underpinning Excessive Internet Use Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Halley Pontes, Ivone Patrão


Objective: It is not clear in the literature whether people who engage in excessive Internet use spend most of their time just surfing in general, or if the excessive behaviour is associated with other specific online functions or applications. In the present study, the possible outcomes in the perceived online behaviours using hypothetical scenarios where participants' favourite applications would not be accessible online were investigated. Method: The sample comprised 144 Portuguese (age: M = 21; SD = 11.94) speakers Internet users recruited from online forums and communities. Preference for specific online content and its unavailability and time spent online were analysed along with perceived quality of life in relation to Internet addiction when self-diagnosed. Results: A trend for preferring mobile Internet access was found while the unavailability of favourite applications seemed to significantly decrease time spent online. Moreover, nearly one third of the sample would not access the Internet anymore without their favourite applications. Perceived quality of life was found to vary significantly in relation to the amount of years online and Internet addiction self-diagnosis. Moreover, the internet addiction self-diagnosis was influenced by participants' sex. Conclusion: Online behaviour appears to be more specific in nature rather than generalised. Limitations and implications of the present findings are further discussed.


online; preferences; Internet; addiction