Topic 2 A discussion about the term “problematic” and the key criteria for problematic Internet use

  • Internet is not a substance.
  • Problematic Internet use encompasses various online behaviours that can spur out of control in a small number of people:
    • Problematic online gaming
    • Problematic social media use
    • Compulsive online buying-shopping
    • Problematic online gambling
    • Problematic online pornography use.

However, only gambling disorder is recognised as an official disorder and gaming disorder is about to be recognised by the WHO. Other problematic internet behaviors are not recognised disorders as more research is needed.

  • So:

Problematic Internet use is an umbrella term that can refer to a variety of different behaviors, such as the ones mentioned above. It is important to stress what particular behavior are we referring to. 

  • functional impairment  (i.e., that it causes the person problems in school life, social life and other forms of functioning) This is the European Parliament’s functional definition.
  • ICD-11 criteria (next slide) are available for Gaming Disorder only, but they can be useful when thinking about other potentially problematic modes of Internet use as well.
  • Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS),  is a questionnaire available for detecting the problematic use of social media.