Background: The goals of the present work were to retrieve the scientific articles published on addiction to the Internet, video games, and cell phones and to analyze the pattern of publications in this area (who is doing the research, when and where it is taking place, and in which journals it is being published), to determine the research being conducted as well as to document geographical trends in publication over time in three types of technological addictions: Internet, cell phones, and video games.
Methods: Articles indexed in PubMed and PsycINFO between 2006 and 2010 related to the pathological use of Internet, cell phones, and video games were retrieved. Search results were reviewed to eliminate articles that were not relevant or were duplicates.
Results: Three hundred and thirty valid articles were retrieved from PubMed and PsycINFO from 2006 to 2010. Results were compared with those of 1996-2005. The year with the highest number of articles published was 2008 (n = 96). The most productive countries, in terms of number of articles published, were China (n = 67), the United States (n = 56), the United Kingdom (n = 47), and Taiwan (n = 33). The most commonly used language was English (70.3%), followed by Chinese (15.4%). Articles were published in 153 different journals. The journal that published the most articles was Cyberpsychology and Behavior (n = 73), followed by Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology (n = 27) and International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction (n = 16). Internet was the area most frequently studied, with an increasing interest in other areas such as online video games and cell phones.
Conclusions: The number of publications on technological addictions reached a peak in 2008. The scientific contributions of China, Taiwan, and Korea are overrepresented compared to other scientific fields such as drug addiction. The inclusion of Internet Gaming Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5(th) Edition could change the publication trends in the technological addiction area and underline the relevance of this upcoming disorder in dissatisfaction with life in general.
Keywords: Cell phone addiction; Internet addiction; research; scientific publications; video games addiction.