Today’s society is increasingly focused on technology and therefore people are progressively more dependent on it, particularly with regards to the Internet [1
]. Mobile phones and different technological devices have made the world of video games and online shopping more accessible to everyone, making markets even more desirable and broad than before [3
The Internet and the different social networks have become popular instruments that are currently used to communicate and exchange information, among the most outstanding actions [4
]. The way in which people interact with each other, entertain themselves, and consume through the media has been modified through the Internet [5
]. However, as more people connect to multimedia devices to share information and make use of the possibilities they are offered, cases of media addiction are growing at a dangerous pace [6
]. These addictions have grown significantly over the last decade [8
], surpassing other types of addictions.
There is a great deal of scientific evidence showing how there is a serious risk associated with excessive use of the Internet and everything that derives from it [9
], where, in addition, personal characteristics, gender, socio-cultural differences [10
], and biological factors could play an important role in the appearance of an addiction to these media. The literature reveals an association between the Internet and social networks and an increase in so-called techno-stress [11
The constant use of the Internet and social networks leads to an addiction and obsession, which results in negative behavior [14
]. The consequences of these habits regarding the excessive use of different smart devices and the Internet can affect both the physical and mental health of users [15
]. Issues such as anxiety, depression, impulsiveness, and aggressive behavior can also result or be increased from uncontrolled use [16
]. Those with internet addiction have higher levels of depression, anxiety, and impulsivity than those without such an addiction [9
Numerous studies address internet and smartphone addiction, regardless of the age of those suffering from it [17
] or even the field in which they are trained or work [18
]. In addition, the literature contains relevant research that addresses this type of addiction and its relationship to the educational setting [8
]. Technology, the Internet, and the impact of the digital world have a great influence on the student body and the development of their personality [20
] and health [21
At present, students, regardless of their educational stage, are one of the groups most closely related to everything related to ICT and its use for different purposes, such as socialization or proper academic development [22
]. Experts on the field state that those students who use the Internet for purposes that go beyond simple socialization through the different social networks and video games have a better level with regard to problems related to the use of this technology [23
]. The exclusive use of these media for playful or socializing purposes without an educational perspective or previous training in the correct use and handling can lead to problems such as sexting [24
], cyberbullying [25
], or video game addiction [26
]. The consequences derived from these phenomena can affect the academic, social, and emotional spheres.
In this respect, from the educational field, mechanisms of prevention and action should be established in the face of these new existing trends. Therefore, it is necessary to educate in terms of the correct handling of the devices at a technical level, but also at a regulatory level, where the self-regulation of certain behaviors towards these devices is promoted, always extracting the maximum potential for all the areas of the life of the students, including their academic life [27
]. The objective from the educational point of view should be to form digitally competent citizens who have positively developed their ethical, literacy, participatory, and critical aspects towards technology and the use of the Internet [28
In recent times, there have been constant publications that analyze ICT, as well as the Internet and its relationship with education [30
], as the tendency of these topics is to increase and acquire more relevance in terms of research. On the other hand, studies approached from bibliometrics, such as the one presented in this paper, are in recent times a constant that addresses a multitude of topics of incidence, such as medical research [32
], virtual reality [33
], or the area of sports [35
2. Justification of Study
In the research presented, the concepts “addiction” and “internet” (ADIN) are analyzed in the impact scientific literature collected from the Web of Science (WoS) database. Web of Science is an online platform containing databases of bibliographic information and information analysis resources that allow the evaluation and analysis of research performance, especially in the field of social sciences. In addition, it presents a series of analysis tools that allow specific and concrete searches to be carried out [36
]. This study acquires a bibliometric nature with the purpose of analyzing the publications by means of a scientific mapping developed as a result of various bibliometric indicators and a dynamic and structural evolution of the aforementioned terms.
To carry out and follow a study model validated by experts in this field of research, other impact investigations taken from the Journal Citation Reports were taken as a reference (JCR) [36
This study focused on the evaluation of the trajectory and evolution of the mentioned concepts of the main WoS collection. Initially, a search was carried out in such a database to know the status of the terms issue and, in addition, to check if there were any studies of similar characteristics to the one presented in this work. After the search phase, no publication was found that analyzed both terms with a scientific mapping, and thus this study acquired an exploratory nuance about the state of the art in impact literature. Therefore, this study helps to increase the findings and reduce the gap found in the literature concerning the relationship between “addiction” and “internet”. Therefore, the results obtained will acquire a relevant value as they will contribute to the advancement of science, in addition to serving as a basis for successive research.
ADIN has become one of the most frequented topics in the scientific panorama over the last years. The arrival of the Internet in people’s lives has brought many benefits, but also risks that citizens must be aware of in order to take preventive measures [9
The present work aimed to establish a state of the art study on scientific productivity on ADIN in one of the most prestigious databases at present (WoS). The analysis of the data allowed the elucidation of the exponential growth in which the discipline of knowledge finds itself at present, doubling in 10 years from its origin the number of publications and being nowadays in a phase of linear growth [44
]. The large percentage of manuscripts found belonged mainly to the psychiatric and psychological area, linked to the treatment of addictions, drugs, and harmful substances, which denotes that this is a global concern that particularly affects the compendium of the health discipline [32
]. However, there is also an emerging amount of research concerning the educational branch, which allows us to see that ADIN is beginning to be a concern for experts in the field of education, in order to promote a practice of a prophylactic nature [33
Likewise, the analysis on the most prolific institutions and authors in the area allowed us to know that the research on ADIN is an object of study by multiple researchers from different parts of the world, with numerous countries being among the biggest producers of scientific works on the subject, and therefore configuring one of the most important risks that reside in the society [1
In this sense, the co-word analysis provided an understanding of which of the descriptors had the highest academic performance over the years about ADIN, in addition to being able to visualize its evolution over the years. By way of this, it was possible to distinguish how there was an evolution in this issue, from the origin of ADIN to the present, starting with descriptors such as “sensation-seeking“ or “symptoms”, to “loneliness”, “depression”, “self-esteem”, “stress”, “video-games”, or “impulsivity”. Undoubtedly, a negative progression is visualized that began with descriptors that alluded to minor symptoms and disorders, and ended with descriptors referring to risks related to serious disorders or diseases such as depression, social isolation, or serious self-esteem problems. This indicates that there has been an increase in ADIN in society and, therefore, there are publications that refer to this phenomenon associated with this type of disease [9
In sum, the results indicated that, to a greater extent, risks associated with the Internet, such as the consumption of pornography and young people’s addiction to video games and the behavioral disorders associated with them, obtained a considerable density of publication, and therefore these are risks that affect society today [23
]. In a similar vein, the analysis of the relationship between issues through the Jaccard index allowed us to discern relevant connections between issues, as was the case with the one maintained between “prevalence-prevalence-depression-adolescent”, “addiction-behavior-addiction-adolescent”, or “online-loneliness-self-esteem”. These links allowed us to corroborate the interest of the research community in the risks associated with ADIN over the years, an idea similar to those expressed in previous research [7
]. Specifically, the main population under study, according to the works analyzed, are young people, especially adolescents.
Finally, the scientific mapping of authors with a higher index of relevance allowed us to know a considerable compendium of experts in the present on ADIN, which indicates the importance that this topic is gaining within the current scientific panorama, as well as the need for its study and deepening by the research community.
ADIN is among the most threatening risks to society today and in the future, especially among the younger population, who live more with technological devices continuously, which can lead to severe consequences associated with serious behavioral disorders and psychological diseases.
Through this work, we intended to establish a general state on the productivity and scientific performance of the subject, trying to contribute interesting ideas about the evolution of the subject and about which are the most frequent aspects to be developed by the researchers, who focus their attention on the study of ADIN. All of this information can be used in order to be able to elucidate the working path in the near future.
Among the limitations that comprise this work is the debugging of the data presented in WoS, where in some cases some repeated or unrelated documents are presented. This was also the case in the establishment of the intervals, this being a question of equity, given that the researchers tried to maintain a similar density of manuscripts in each of them. This study focused solely on the WoS database to show the scientific community the state of the art research on the existing literature on the subject. This may also be a limitation of the study. Therefore, as a future line of research, it is proposed that the analysis be replicated in other impact databases such as Scopus. On the other hand, as future lines of research, it is recommended that future authors investigate the search for new risks associated with the excessive use of the Internet, as well as the establishment of effective educational research to help combat and prevent this dangerous phenomenon for present and future generations.
In conclusion, the idea of continuing on the path of promoting healthy living habits with respect to digital health, especially among the youngest people, through a responsible practice to promote a healthy society that avoids coming into contact with the risks associated with the digital world, is stressed.