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Internet abuse and possible addiction among undergraduates: A developing concern for library and university administrators

James Castiglione (Brooklyn College, The City University of New York, Brooklyn, New York, USA)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 23 May 2008




Within the context of general systems theory (GST), this paper aims to review the literature on the potential for internet abuse and addiction among undergraduate university students in the university and library environment.


This paper is based on a review and synthesis of the relevant literature derived from the computer, education, medical and psychological sciences.


Anecdotal evidence has been accumulating for over a decade, suggesting that inappropriate use of the internet by college students may lead to adverse educational outcomes; however, very little empirical evidence is available to substantiate the phenomenon.

Research limitations/implications

A lack of empirical evidence limits the conclusions one may draw on the nature and extent of the internet‐related difficulties that students may be experiencing. However, the accumulating anecdotal evidence and commentary suggests that near‐term and long‐term problems for both the individual and society are indeed possible. Therefore, a robust, international research program, designed to generate the empirical evidence required to clarify this issue, is absolutely essential.


A timely review of the internet abuse/addiction phenomenon is presented with the objective of increasing awareness, debate and additional empirical research.



Castiglione, J. (2008), "Internet abuse and possible addiction among undergraduates: A developing concern for library and university administrators", Library Review, Vol. 57 No. 5, pp. 358-371.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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