The internet is a very useful tool and it is almost impossible to work and function in today’s society without some type of access to the internet. However, sometimes a person can develop a process addiction referred to as “Internet Addiction”. This is defined as incontrollable, time-consuming and distressful internet use which results in difficulties with ones job, family or financial stability.
Since its inception nearly 40 years ago the internet is now available to nearly 33% of the world and at least 78% of people in North America (http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm). As such, being so new to the world, internet addiction is a very new disorder.
Internet addiction is a blanket term for excessive engagement in a variety of online activities exclusively or combined. Including
s Online Gambling
s Social Media and chat rooms
Prevalence of Internet Addiction
In an early survey regarding internet addiction it was found that an estimated 6% of internet users fit the profile of an internet addict as is currently defined by the DSM IV. (Greenfield 1999)
s Since there is no standard diagnostic criteria there is variability in the estimated number of users who are addicted ranging from 6-15%.
s It was found that the highest rate of addiction was among college students ranging from 13-18.4%.
s Adolescents from 12-18 years of age had the lowest risk of internet addiction ranging from 4.6-4.7%.