Research Topic

Problematic Internet Technology Use: Assessment, Risk Factors, Comorbidity, Adverse Consequences and Intervention

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About this Research Topic

Excessive or problematic use of internet technologies, including for example, smartphones, social media, and video gaming, have been increasingly investigated in recent years. Studies demonstrate that particular personality traits, biological and mental health-related problems drive such problematic use. ...

Excessive or problematic use of internet technologies, including for example, smartphones, social media, and video gaming, have been increasingly investigated in recent years. Studies demonstrate that particular personality traits, biological and mental health-related problems drive such problematic use. Furthermore, problematic internet use leads to adverse consequences, such as impairments in work, school or social functioning, as well as physical and mental health consequences including musculoskeletal pain, insomnia as well as addictive tendencies, and pedestrian- and driving-related accidents. This issue is particularly salient given ongoing societal debate about how much screen time is appropriate and healthy for an individual, with large technology companies recently implementing screen time monitoring and feedback to users in their software applications.

For this Research Topic, we aim to better understand the phenomenology of problematic internet technology use, its causes and consequences. We invite research submissions aiming to improve understanding of problematic internet technology use – specifically, its development, assessment, comorbidity, consequences, or interventions. Examples of problematic internet use considered for this Research Topic include the overuse of smartphones, social media, gaming, binge watching, online shopping, and others. Submissions may center on participants of any age groups - children, adolescents, and/or adults.

Empirical submissions are welcome, including cross-sectional, longitudinal, experimental, and survey-based research. Replication studies are also welcome, in addition to systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Specific themes within the context of problematic internet technology use that are especially welcome include the following:
• The development and/or maintenance of the problematic use behavior, including risk and/or resilience factors.
• Measurement- or assessment-related issues of problematic use, including psychometrics, diagnostic instruments, objective use measurement, etc.
• Relationships between problematic use and other mental health- or psychological-related constructs, such as personality, subjective well-being, psychophysiological findings, neuronal factors, etc.
• Sociodemographic or cross-cultural variable relations with problematic use.
• Functional consequences of problematic use, such as work or school outcomes.
• Interventions and treatment aimed at reducing problematic use.


Keywords: problematic internet use, mental health, predictors, consequences, protection


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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