Internet Addiction: Debating the Diagnosis

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While the Internet has revolutionized the process of information gathering and communication in society, there has been mounting concern in the literature as to the effect of the medium on the individual. Researchers appear torn as to whether an individual can actually develop an addiction to the Internet. This report will review this controversy in detail, including proposed definitional criteria for problematic Internet use, explanatory theories of the manifestation of problematic Internet use, measures of problematic Internet use, and groups with a higher vulnerability of developing problematic Internet use. The report will conclude by identifying gaps in the literature, areas for future research, and implications for human service agencies and treatment providers.