Internet addiction is related to distortion of time perception assessed by the Perception of Time Online Scale (PTO)
Background: Over the last decade, the research on the use and misuse f information and communication technologies has increased. Internet addiction or problematic internet use has become a growing concern. One core characteristic of problems related to internet use is the loss of awareness of the duration of time that is passed online, which can be greatly underestimated. However, there is no validated instrument to specifically assess the time distortion that results from online activities Therefore, the present study aimed at developing and validating one such measure in the Portuguese population – Percepção de Tempo Online [Perception of Time Online (PTO)]. Methods: The sample included 1106 Portuguese subjects (549 women, 558 men), aged 11 to 80 years (M = 31.8; SD =14.4), who participated in person and online. Results: The results showed that the PTO scale has good metric qualities and it is represented by a unifactorial structure. Adjustment index levels were acceptable. Reliability was .92 and composite reliability was .91. Regarding convergent validity, the PTO correlated strongly with the Internet Addiction Test (r = .74, p < .001), thus highlighting the close relation between internet addiction and time distortion during online activities. Conclusions: The PTO can be a relevant measure for understanding the use and misuse of online activities. The adaptation and validation of the PTO in populations of other countries is proposed for future research. To this end, the authors present the preliminary contribution to the work of translating and adapting to English the PTO.