The Internet as a new technology has had a considerable impact on the world and has brought many benefits to its users. At the same time, the Internet has brought its own negative consequences. Some people become preoccupied with the Internet, unable to control its use, endangering their relationships in society, family, and work. The concept of ‘ internet addiction ‘ has been proposed as an uncontrolled use of this technology. The symptoms of an excessive use of the internet have been compared with the symptoms of other addictions. A number of addictions have similar symptoms as internet addiction. The literature that we can find on the subject of ‘ Internet addiction ‘ is quite limited and many published articles contain information that is not sufficiently empirically explored. The investigations of psychologist Kimberly Young are most methodologically substantiated. In her research, she paid attention to factors related to internet addiction. Her research is very significant because she has proposed a way to diagnose internet addiction. Young has developed a questionnaire that assesses internet dependence. She initially developed a short questionnaire with eight questions, which was a modification of the criteria of compulsive gambling. Those who had five or more positive responses were categorized into internet addicts. The results of this questionnaire prompted the development of a more comprehensive questionnaire based on the criteria for compulsive gambling and alcoholism. The questionnaire consisted of 20 questions, known as a test for internet addiction.
Excessive internet users are often called Internet addicts, pathological Internet users, computer addicts, online communication addicts and computer addicts. Each of these expressions reflects a different understanding of the excessive use of the Internet. The most popular one is certainly “internet addiction”, but it inaccurately describes the phenomenon of excessive internet use. By comparing the excessive use of the Internet with pathological gambling, Young suggests that such behavior may be better classified as a pulse disorder rather than an addiction. In view of this, the expression of excessive or problematic use of the Internet describes this user behavior more closely. The problematic use of the Internet can be found at any age of the social, educational or economic range. Many of the users examined by Young, reported a state of depression, loneliness, low levels of self-esteem and anxiety. The results for about 25% of respondents who passed Young’s poll were an area code, i.e. Respondents were addicted to just 6 months on the Internet. Young has announced the results that even 58 respondents meet the criteria of Internet addiction during one year of Internet use. This could mean that new users are more vulnerable to pathological use of the Internet. Most of them had a fear of computers initially, but with numerous instructions and navigation through the applications, they begin to feel pleasure very quickly. Research conducted by Young showed that her addicts used the internet on average 38 hours a week. Respondents also admitted that they were trying to reduce the number of hours spent on the internet, but without success, even though their time on the internet caused a number of problems. Almost 80% of internet addicts are preoccupied with two-way communication, such as discussion groups, chat rooms and internet games.
Effective treatment is based on the correct diagnosis. The diagnosis should be based on extensive clinical trials and on the results of the tests carried out. Griffits showed that he adapted the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria for diagnosing Internet addiction. There are seven areas that need to be examined to diagnose an internet addiction. If a person meets three or more of these areas then it is identified as an internet dependent. The first area includes an assessment for tolerance. Another area requires determining whether a person spends more time on the Internet than planned. The third area revolves around determining whether a person spends a lot of time in activities that allow for longer online time. Fourth, social, professional or recreational activities are watched whether they spend time on the Internet. The fifth area estimates whether the use of the internet has persisted even though this use causes or exacerbates problems and relationships at work, school, finances or in the family. The sixth area determines whether a person has made unsuccessful attempts to reduce the time on the Internet or that there is a lack of desire to reduce the time spent on the internet. And finally, an estimate of the withdrawal.
Young has adapted the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling to be applicable to the diagnosis of Internet addiction. A confirmation of at least five of the eight criteria confirms internet addiction.