Internet Addiction: Where We Are Now
Free (open access)
This paper provides an overview of research on Internet Abuse (IA) and its relationship with other disorders. It suggests that it is important to differentiate between IA and Internet-enabled pathologies such as sexual paraphilias and pathological gambling which are performed online. Those who develop IA are drawn to the socially interactive aspects of the Internet, and find their social interactions are enhanced online compared to offline. A comprehensive model proposed by Caplan suggests that those who lack self-presentational skills develop a preference for online over face-to-face communication which leads them to use online communication compulsively which in turn leads to IA. This may explain the increased vulnerability for IA among those who are chronically lonely and socially anxious. Criticisms of this research are discussed. Keywords: Internet addiction, Internet abuse, pathological Internet use, disturbed Internet use, psychopathology, social anxiety, loneliness, depression, impulse control disorder, addiction. 1 Introduction Reports of Internet abuse began to surface in the early 1990s when chroniclers of social aspects of Internet use such as Rheingold  and Turkle  described a small group of users whose use of the Internet was out of control and an addictive quality. With the rapid spread of the Internet from a select group of scientists, mathematicians and computer experts into the general public, media reports began to surface about Internet addiction . By the mid 1990s, research began appearing in academic journals [4, 5]. In response to the perceived need, treatment centers specializing in computer and Internet addiction were developed; for example, the Computer Addiction Service at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate, was founded in 1996. The online Internet Addiction Disorder Support Group flourished even though its founder,
Internet addiction, Internet abuse, pathological Internet use, disturbed Internet use, psychopathology, social anxiety, loneliness, depression, impulse control disorder, addiction.