The concept of ‘internet addiction’ relies on a fundamental misunderstanding of what the internet is.
‘Internet addiction’ researchers conceive of the internet as if it were a set of activities when, in fact, it’s a medium for communication.
People become addicted to substances or activities, but it’s impossible to become addicted to a medium. You can be no more addicted to the internet than you can to language or radio waves.
This is important because the proposed criteria for internet addiction or pathological internet use (there is no accepted classification, contrary to what the press release says) typically make reference to ‘using the internet’ or ‘spending time online’ without reference to any specific activity.
It’s important to specify specific activities, because, as noted above, the concept of a behavioural addiction logically requires one.
It’s also important to make the distinction between something being compulsive, something that you want to do again (commonly, but confusingly, called ‘addictive’ in everyday language), and a fully-fledged behavioural addiction – a mental disorder where you keep doing the activity even when it has serious damaging effects.
The cinema, reading books, going for walks, chatting to friends and any other enjoyable activity can be compulsive, but it doesn’t make it an addiction, even if it’s a daily time consuming activity and you get pissed off if you can’t do it.