Internet Abuse: Addiction? Disorder? Symptom? Alternative Explanations?

Document Type



Published by Sage Publications in Social Science Computer Review, volume 23, No. 1, Pages 39-48.

Bryant University users may access this article here.

Publication Source

Social Science Computer Review


As Internet use has proliferated worldwide, there has been debate whether some users develop disturbed patterns of Internet use (i.e., Internet abuse). This article highlights relevant literature on Internet abuse and computer-mediated communication effects that supports and disputes major questions about Internet abuse. Is the addiction paradigm appropriate for Internet use? Is behavior that has been labeled Internet abuse symptomatic of other problems such as depression, sexual disorders, or loneliness? What are alternative explanations for this phenomenon? Is there adequate research to support Internet abuse as a distinct disorder?