“Computer Addiction”: A Critical Consideration


Division on Addictions, Harvard Medical School, 220 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 [E-mail: Howard_Shaffer@hms.harvard.edu]


Problems related to intemperate Internet use are examined within the conceptual framework of addiction. It is argued that empirical support for the construct validity of computer addiction has yet to emerge, that defining the construct as a unique psychiatric disorder is therefore premature, and that, in most cases, excessive computer use may he symptomatic of other, more primary disorders. Greater caution and rigor are urged in investigating and treating problems related to intemperate computer use.