Computer addiction

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Computer addiction is a form of behavioral addiction[1] that can be described as the excessive or compulsive use of the computer, which persists despite serious negative consequences for personal, social, or occupational function.[2] Another clear conceptualization is made by Block, who stated that "Conceptually, the diagnosis is a compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder that involves online and/or offline computer usage and consists of at least three subtypes: excessive gaming, sexual preoccupations, and e-mail/text messaging".[3] Computer addiction is not currently included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as an official disorder.[4] The concept of computer addiction is broadly divided into two types, namely offline computer addiction, and online computer addiction. Offline computer addiction is normally used when speaking about excessive gaming behavior, which can be practiced both offline and online.[5] Online computer addiction, also known as Internet addiction, gets more attention in general from scientific research than offline computer addiction, mainly because most cases of computer addiction are related to the excessive use of the Internet.[2]

Experts on Internet addiction have described this syndrome as an individual working intensely on the Internet, prolonged use of the Internet, uncontrollable use of the Internet, unable to use the Internet in an efficient, timely matter, not being interested in the outside world, not spending time with people from the outside world, and an increase in their loneliness and dejection.[6]


  • Being drawn by the computer as soon as one wakes up and before one goes to bed
  • Replacing old hobbies with excessive use of the computer and using the computer as one's primary source of entertainment and procrastination
  • Lacking physical exercise and/or outdoor exposure because of constant use of the computer, which could contribute to many health problems such as obesity


Excessive computer use may result in, or occur with:


Kimberly Young[7] indicates that previous research links internet/computer addiction with existing mental health issues, most notably depression. She states that computer addiction has significant effects socially, such as low self-esteem, psychologically and occupationally, which led many subjects to academic failure.

According to a Korean study on internet/computer addiction, pathological use of the internet results in negative life impacts such as job loss, marriage breakdown, financial debt, and academic failure. 70% of internet users in Korea are reported to play online games, 18% of whom are diagnosed as game addicts, which relates to internet/computer addiction. The authors of the article conducted a study using Kimberly Young's questionnaire. The study showed that the majority of those who met the requirements of internet/computer addiction suffered from interpersonal difficulties and stress and that those addicted to online games specifically responded that they hoped to avoid reality.[8]


Computers nowadays rely almost entirely on the internet, and thus relevant research articles relating to internet addiction may also be relevant to computer addiction.

  • Gaming addiction: a hypothetical behavioral addiction characterized by excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games, which interferes with a person's everyday life.[9] Video game addiction may present itself as compulsive gaming, social isolation, mood swings, diminished imagination, and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other events in life.[10][11]
  • Social media addiction: Data suggest that participants use social media to fulfill their social needs but are typically dissatisfied.[12]  Lonely individuals are drawn to the Internet for emotional support. This could interfere with "real-life socializing" by reducing face-to-face relationships.[13] Some of these views are summed up in an Atlantic article by Stephen Marche entitled Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?, in which the author argues that social media provides more breadth, but not the depth of relationships that humans require and that users begin to find it difficult to distinguish between the meaningful relationships which we foster in the real world and the numerous casual relationships that are formed through social media.[14]

Diagnostic Test[edit]

Many studies and surveys are being conducted to measure the extent of this type of addiction. Kimberly Young has created a questionnaire based on other disorders to assess the level of addiction. It is called the Internet Addict Diagnostic Questionnaire or IADQ. The questionnaire asks users about their online usage habits as well as their feelings about their internet usage. According to the IADQ sample, Internet Addiction resembles that of a Gambling disorder. Answering positively to five out of the eight questions on the IADQ may be indicative of online addiction. [15]

Origin of the term and history[edit]

Observations about the addictiveness of computers, and more specifically, computer games date back at least to the mid-1970s. Addiction and addictive behavior were common among the users of the PLATO system at the University of Illinois.[16] British e-learning academic Nicholas Rushby suggested in his 1979 book, An Introduction to Educational Computing, that people can be addicted to computers and suffer withdrawal symptoms. The term was also used by M. Shotton in 1989 in her book Computer Addiction. However, Shotton concludes that the 'addicts' are not truly addicted. Dependency on computers, she argues, is better understood as a challenging and exciting pastime that can also lead to a professional career in the field. Computers do not turn gregarious, extroverted people into recluses; instead, they offer introverts a source of inspiration, excitement, and intellectual stimulation. Shotton's work seriously questions the legitimacy of the claim that computers cause addiction.

The term became more widespread with the explosive growth of the Internet, as well the availability of the personal computer.[17] Computers and the Internet both started to take shape as a personal and comfortable medium that could be used by anyone who wanted to make use of it. With that explosive growth of individuals making use of PCs and the Internet, the question started to arise whether or not misuse or excessive use of these new technologies could be possible as well. It was hypothesized that, like any technology aimed specifically at human consumption and use, abuse could have severe consequences for the individual in the short term and the society in the long term.[18] In the late nineties people who made use of PCs and the internet were already referred to the term webaholics or cyberholics. Pratarelli et al. suggested at that point already to label "a cluster of behaviors potentially causing problems" as a computer or Internet addiction.[17]

There are other examples of computer overuse that date back to the earliest computer games. Press reports have furthermore noted that some Finnish Defence Forces conscripts were not mature enough to meet the demands of military life and were required to interrupt or postpone military service for a year. One reported source of the lack of needed social skills is an overuse of computer games or the Internet. Forbes termed this overuse "Web fixations", and stated that they were responsible for 12 such interruptions or deferrals over the 5 years from 2000–2005.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Serenko, A.; Turel, O. (2020). "Directing technology addiction research in information systems: Part I. Understanding behavioral addictions" (PDF). The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems. 51 (3): 81–96.
  2. ^ a b Pies, R (2009). "Should DSM-V Designate "Internet Addiction" a Mental Disorder?". Psychiatry. 6 (2): 31–37. PMC 2719452. PMID 19724746.
  3. ^ Block, J. J. (1 March 2008). "Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction". American Journal of Psychiatry. 165 (3): 306–7. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.07101556. PMID 18316427.
  4. ^ Răşcanu, Ruxandra; Marineanu, Corina; Marineanu, Vasile; Sumedrea, Cristian Mihai; Chitu, Alexandru (May 2013). "Teenagers and their Addiction to Computer". Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 78: 225–229. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.04.284.
  5. ^ Lemmens, Jeroen S.; Valkenburg, Patti M.; Peter, Jochen (26 February 2009). "Development and Validation of a Game Addiction Scale for Adolescents". Media Psychology. 12 (1): 77–95. doi:10.1080/15213260802669458.
  6. ^ Yellowlees, Peter; Marks (May 2007). "Problematic Internet use or Internet addiction?". Computers in Human Behavior. 23 (3): 1447–1453. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2005.05.004.
  7. ^ Young, Kimberly S.; Rogers, Robert C. (1998). "The Relationship Between Depression and Internet Addiction". CyberPsychology & Behavior. 1: 25–28. doi:10.1089/cpb.1998.1.25.
  8. ^ Whang, Leo Sang-Min; Lee, Sujin; Chang, Geunyoung (2003). "Internet Over-Users' Psychological Profiles: A Behavior Sampling Analysis on Internet Addiction". CyberPsychology & Behavior. 6 (2): 143–50. doi:10.1089/109493103321640338. PMID 12804026.
  9. ^ "Computer Game Addiction". Berkeley Parents Network. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2007.
  10. ^ Hauge, Marney R. and James Robert 'Paynee' (April 2003). "Video game addiction among adolescents: Associations with academic performance and aggression" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2007. Paper presented at a Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Tampa Florida Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  11. ^ Tanner, Lindsey (22 June 2007). "Is video-game addiction a mental disorder?". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  12. ^ Wang, Z.; Tchernev, J. M.; Solloway, T. (2012). "A dynamic longitudinal examination of social media use, needs, and gratifications among college students". Computers in Human Behavior. 28 (5): 1829–1839. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.05.001.
  13. ^ Morahan-Martin, J.; Schumacher, P. (2003). "Loneliness and social uses of the internet". Computers in Human Behavior. 19 (6): 659–671. doi:10.1016/S0747-5632(03)00040-2.
  14. ^ Marche, Stephen (2012). "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  15. ^ Young, Kimberly. "Internet Addiction Test (IAT) Sample" (PDF). Stoelting. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  16. ^ Brian Dear, Chapter 21 -- Coming of Age, The Friendly Orange Glow, Pantheon Books, New York, 2017; see pages 381-387 for a discussion of addiction on PLATO, page 382 quotes a 1975 article from The Daily Illini that discusses the subject.
  17. ^ a b Pratarelli, Marc E.; Browne, Blaine L.; Johnson, Kimberly (June 1999). "The bits and bytes of computer/internet addiction: A factor analytic approach". Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers. 31 (2): 305–314. doi:10.3758/BF03207725.
  18. ^ Robert H. Anderson, Center for Information Revolution Analyses (1995). Universal access to e-mail : feasibility and societal implications. Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand. ISBN 9780833023315.
  19. ^ Lea Goldman (2005-09-05). "This Is Your Brain on Clicks". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2007-07-17.

Works cited

  • Dawn Heron. "Time To Log Off: New Diagnostic Criteria For Problematic Internet Use", University of Florida, Gainesville, published in Current Psychology, April 2003 [1][permanent dead link] (Identifies incessant posting in chat rooms as a form of emotional disorder).
  • Orzack, Maressa H. Dr. (1998). "Computer Addiction: What Is It?" Psychiatric Times XV(8).
  • Shotton, MA (1989), Computer Addiction? A study of computer dependency. New York: Taylor & Francis.
  • Cromie, William J. Computer Addiction Is Coming On-line. HPAC - Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. Web. 20 Oct. 2010. Computer Addiction Is Coming On-line (Explains symptoms and other various attributes of the new disease).
  • UTD Counseling Center: Self-Help:Computer Addiction. Home Page - The University of Texas at Dallas. Web. 20 Oct. 2010. UTD Counseling Center: Self-Help:Computer Addiction.
  • (n.d.). Computer Addiction. Retrieved December 5, 2013, from Computer Addiction - Signs, Symptoms, Support & Treatment