Internet Addiction

Internet Addiction

Petra Vondrackova (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) and David Smahel (Masaryk University, Czech Republic)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0315-8.ch063
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Internet addiction can be defined as overuse of the Internet leading to impairment of an individual’s psychological state; this includes both mental and emotional states, as well as scholastic, occupational, and social interactions. Internet addiction was first mentioned in a clinical context by Kimberly Young in 1996, since then it has received attention from experts in various scientific fields. Perhaps due to its short history, the concept of Internet addiction has not been fully developed and there are still many unanswered questions, particularly regarding the terminology, definition, and its clinical relevance. Realized studies on Internet addiction have focused on (a) prevalence estimates, (b) negative correlates, (c) defining the core components and designing measurement scales and/or diagnostic criteria, and (d) treatment approaches. Future research should focus on clarifying the concept of Internet addiction and related terminology, and creating a standardized instrument for measuring Internet addiction.
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Historical Background And Main Research Areas

The phenomenon of problematic use of computers has been discussed since the late eighties. In 1989 Margaret E. Shotton published the book “Computer Addiction? A study of computer dependency” presenting an investigation of the syndrome of computer addiction based on case studies of volunteers from all over the UK who considered themselves to be dependent upon computers. She arrived at the conclusion that “computer dependency” exists but that it was not a clinical pathology, and nor did it constitute a threat to computer users themselves.

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