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Internet addiction: Fact or fiction?

Mark Griffiths explores the empirical reality behind the media hype.

18 May 1999

The report above is typical of the kind of stories that have been saturating the popular press in the UK about ‘internet addiction’. The UK edition of Newsweek reported that 2 to 3 per cent of the on-line community have serious internet addictions, and spend most of their waking time surfing and chatting in this medium (Hamilton & Kalb, 1995). Research into the area of internet addiction is at present sparse but growing. This article attempts to separate the empirical research from the media hype and to assess whether internet addiction can really be seen in the same light as addictions to gambling and alcohol.

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