The World Wide Web is an intriguing information highway. Its beginnings only date back to the 1990’s, but it has quickly become a major staple in our lives. As with anything there is a good and bad side. Americans and people around the world are becoming more and more reliant on using the internet for their informational, academic, social, entertainment, organizational, and connectional needs. Along with all of the good that this has brought a new disorder is arising, internet addiction disorder.
Although internet addiction disorder has not been added as of yet to the DSM hopes by the researchers are high that it will be added in the future editions. Much research has been done to understand the complexities of the disorder. Most of the research has been done on youth and young, college age adults because they seem to be the most vulnerable. Our young people are growing up with the internet and rely on it much more than older adults at the present. They seem to have more of an interest in things of a technological nature (Chou, Condron & Belland, 2005).
Through the research predictors of internet addiction disorder are being examined. Scales are being developed to help in diagnosis. Diagnosis criteria are being formulated. Patterns in and researched. There has been an international congress to discuss the disorder and what is being done for treatment around the world. This paper will review the information on research findings, diagnostics, and the treatments that are being used. It will also examine information as to the very nature of the internet what seems to give it the power to pull people into addiction.
Explaining Internet Addiction
Some researchers say that internet addiction is similar to gambling addiction (Chou, Condron & Belland, 2005). Dr. Kimberly Young is one of the earliest researchers in the field of internet addiction. Her definition for internet addiction is “excessive internet over-use which disrupts a person’s sleep patterns, work productivity, daily routines, and social life (Hardie & Ming Yi., 2007).
Others have defined internet addiction in other words. Oktan (2011) has used certain criteria to describe internet addiction. He says that it is failure to control, decrease or stop internet use, and staying logged on longer than expected (Oktan, 2011). Both Yen, Yen, Wu, Huang & Ko (2011) and Chak& Leung (2004) give characteristics for internet addiction. Yen, et al, (2011) list the characteristics as: impaired decision making, impairment of control, tolerance, preoccupation, withdrawal, uses more than one intends, excessive time and effort devoted to the internet. Chak& Leung (2004) list their characteristics of internet addiction as the following: concealment, risk to education, risk of loss of job, risk of loss of relationship, and lying to friends, family, the therapist, and others.
Weinstein & Lejoyeux (2010) believes there are 4 components to internet addiction and in each component there are different...