Affiliation: Natchaug Hospital, 189 Storrs Road, PO Box 260, Mansfield Center, CT 06250-0260, USA.
Background: In recent years child and adolescent engagement in online activities and video games has increased dramatically to the point that it dominates the free time of many youth. Many young people seem unable to control their excessive use of technology in spite of consequences which impair aspects of their daily functioning.
Methods: This article summarizes the literature regarding pathological video game and Internet use and presents proposed criteria and recommendations for assessment and treatment.
Results: A sizable body of recently published research consistently demonstrates that a minority of youth develop symptoms consistent with a behavioral addiction to the Internet and video games, although there is no officially recognized diagnosis which describes the syndrome.
Conclusions: Knowledge of current research findings, including epidemiology, will help enable mental health to recognize and appropriately care for patients suffering from these problems.