The Prevalence of Problematic Internet Use in Malta Among Young Persons

Over 20% of young people in Malta are at risk of, or face dangers of Internet use.

This is according to a new study from The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, a Eurochild member from Malta.  

The results identified four types of Internet for entertainment users: occasional users (13.9%), habitual users (65.5%), at risk users (15.4%) and problematic users (5.2%). 

While more female users show attachment to video games and social media, more male users are at risk of becoming problematic users. The problematic users identified in this study reported forgetfulness and lack of sleep in relation to their use of Internet for entertainment purposes. They also declared experiences of withdrawal, pre-occupation, and loss of control.

Similarities between Malta, Spain and Britain show that Internet’s presence and use for entertainment transcends cultural contexts.

The study also informs the debate concerning recognition of problematic Internet use and broader behavioural addiction as official disorders.

Findings from this study support policy development of targeted adult education and lifelong learning, as well as enhanced media literacy

The study recommends investment in community-based non-formal educational interventions that combine online and offline interactions.

‘‘The prevalence of Problematic Internet Use in Malta among young persons aged 13–16 years: A quantitative research study’’ was prepared by the National Centre for Freedom from Addictions, within the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society (Malta).

Read the full study