Recent studies have shown several positive/beneficial aspects of young user’s usage of the Internet, including: increased opportunities for connection with relatives and friends, the decrease of loneliness through new ways of communication with their peers. Excessive use or even abuse of the Internet can, on the contrary, have negative effects on the psychosocial well-being and could result in addiction. This explorative study aims to detect the levels of use and/or abuse of the Internet, and the psychosocial functioning of individuals in terms of mental health and mental illness of teenagers from Campania. Differences by gender, age and duration of web surfing were also investigated. They (the teenagers) were given a self-report questionnaire with the aim of detecting the levels of psychological, emotional and social wellness; mental illness and Internet addiction due to its use and/or abuse. Four hundred fifty-four students have taken part to the research, with an average age of 15.83 years and an on-line time of about 5.30 hours per day. The results reveal that girls have higher levels of unease and addiction, as well as the younger ones who surf the Internet for several hours a day. Even though with the limitations of a correlational research, the results of this explorative study can provide useful starting points for the starting of interventions aimed to the prevention of Internet addiction and the promotion of psychosocial well-being during the adolescence.
Keywords: Adolescents, use and/or abuse of the Internet, psychosocial well-being, mental illness.