How to overcome taxonomical problems in the study of Internet use disorders and what to do with “smartphone addiction”? (2019)

J Behav Addict. 2019 Oct 31:1-7. doi: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.59.

Montag C1,2, Wegmann E3, Sariyska R1, Demetrovics Z4, Brand M3,5.



The present theoretical paper introduces the smartphone technology as a challenge for diagnostics in the study of Internet use disorders and reflects on the term “smartphone addiction.”


Such a reflection is carried out against the background of a literature review and the inclusion of Gaming Disorder in ICD-11.


We believe that it is necessary to divide research on Internet use disorder (IUD) into a mobile and non-mobile IUD branch. This is important because certain applications such as the messenger application WhatsApp have originally been developed for smartphones and enfold their power and attractiveness mainly on mobile devices.


Going beyond the argumentation for distinguishing between mobile and non-mobile IUD, it is of high relevance for scientists to better describe and understand what persons are actually (over-)using. This is stressed by a number of examples, explicitly targeting not only the diverse contents used in the online world, but also the exact behavior on each platform. Among others, it matters if a person is more of an active producer of content or passive consumer of social media.

KEYWORDS: Internet addiction; Internet use disorder; problematic Internet use; problematic smartphone use; smartphone addiction; smartphone use disorder

PMID: 31668089

DOI: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.59