The Downside of the Web: Compulsive Internet Use, Empathy, and Altruism


  • Sergey Mazuritsky


compulsive internet use, empathy, altruism, pro-social behaviour, quality of life, organizational selection


Reliance on the internet can become problematic, and can therefore be related to deficits in pro-social behaviours and the associated cognitive and emotional processes. This research examined the relationship between compulsive internet use, empathy, and altruistic behaviours. It was hypothesized that a positive correlation would exist between measures of empathy and altruism, and a negative correlation between compulsive internet use and both of the measures of pro-social behaviour. A survey study was conducted that compared scores on the Compulsive Internet Use Scale, The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire, and the Self-Report Altruism Scale. Participants were 161 York University students with a mean age of 22; 65% were female. Results support the three hypotheses, indicating the existence of a significant correlation, as predicted. Implications regarding workplace practices and quality of life are discussed.