Internet Addictions and Problematic Use of the Internet: Terminology and Causalities

  • Louis-Francois Pau
  • SSRN Electronic Journal, January 2019, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3492727

Essential normalized terminology used to characterize Internet addiction and consequences

What is it about?

Realizing that establishing a basic terminology is necessary amongst all stakeholders studying or impacted by “Internet addiction” (health, networks, media creation, psychological, sociological, social and economic consequences), a “Basic Terminology” is assembled from universal references in the English language. The “Basic Terms” can in general be categorized and distributed ontologies built. As the “Internet addiction” and “Problematic Use of the Internet” terms have definitions with often causal structures, an “Internet addiction” Causal graph has been built serving practitioners and policy makers. This terminology work may indeed assist policy makers in different fields such as health, information & networks, as well as society at large.

Why is it important?

In order to assist WHO and other international or national agencies, as well as many other interdisciplinary stakeholders, to include the “Internet addiction” / “Problematic use of the Internet” processes and treatments in their policies, a basic effort on the terminology used is absolutely necessary. This report provides a set of Basic Terms used in a significant majority of texts about that area, as well as Basic definitions relying on dictionaries and standards (in the English language), allowing the above parties to create a common ground. And where differences exist, they can be isolated and convergence processes put in place. When clinical and technical treatment alternatives exist, they can be mapped out coherently. This report also studies the use of ontologies and causal graphs to assist in the maintenance and visualization of the Basic Terminology. This helps also the organizations involved in crafting policies and their consequences. But, most importantly, as the treatment of “Internet addiction” is topic loaded with many cultural, political and medical viewpoints the visualisation significantly helps the practitioners, regulators and policy makers in addressing all essential dependencies.


Professor Louis F Pau
CBS Group of Institutions

This basic terminology work is a first step towards formulating proper regulations, treatments and handling of new phenomena like telework and distance learning on a routine basis. An international survey of such regulations and laws has already been published. The causal analysis also helps practitioners in mapping out analysis and treatments.

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