Since her groundbreaking book Caught in the Net in 1998, psychologist Kimberly Young was the first to identify Internet addiction and its impact our children, families, and our culture. In 1995, Dr. Young launched the first study on Internet addiction and her pioneering work has led to the emergence of new research and treatment programs to address this new and rapidly evolving field.
Dr. Young is a professor at St. Bonaventure University and founder and director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery in Bradford, Pa. She founded the first inpatient clinic for Internet addiction recovery in the United States at the Bradford Regional Medical Center and her work has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USAToday, CNN, Fox News, Good Morning America, MSNBC News, and The Today Show.
She travels across the country speaking on the impact of smartphones and devices on our personal and family lives. She helps us identify warning signs of Internet addiction and has developed strategies for how we can build “Screen Smart” schools for children and introduces her new 3-6-9-12 Parenting Guidelines for managing tech use at home.
Dr. Young has received the Psychology in the Media Award from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and the Alumni Ambassador Award for Outstanding Achievement from Indiana University at Pennsylvania. She also serves on the advisory board for The Internet Group in Toronto and the Safeguard Children against Internet Addiction Ministry in Japan.
Industry Expertise (6)
Training and Development
Mental Health Care
Health Care - Services
Health and Wellness
Areas of Expertise (7)
Internet Gaming Addiction
Psychology in the Media Award (professional)
Presented by the Pennsylvania Psychological Association
Alumni Ambassor of the Year (professional)
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, College of Natural Sciences
Indiana University of Pennsylvania: M.A. and Psy.D., Clinical Psychology 1994
State University of New York at Buffalo - School of Management: BS, Business and Finance 1988
- American Psychological Association
- Pennsylvania Psychological Assocation
- Beacon Light Behavioral Healthcare Systems
- Bradford Regional Medical Center
- Author Appearance
- Corporate Training
Internet Addiction Research
University of Duisburg-Essen General Psychology Cognition Group
Partnered in several joint research projects.
Most people use the Internet as a functional tool to perform their personal goals in everyday-life such as making airline or hotel reservations. However, some individuals suffer from a loss of control over their Internet use resulting in personal distress, symptoms of psychological dependence, and diverse negative consequences. This phenomenon is often referred to as Internet addiction. Only Internet Gaming Disorder has been included in the appendix of the DSM-5, but it has already been argued that Internet addiction could also comprise problematic use of other applications with cybersex, online relations, shopping, and information search being Internet facets at risk for developing an addictive behavior. Neuropsychological investigations have pointed out that certain prefrontal functions in particular executive control functions are related to symptoms of Internet addiction, which is in line with recent theoretical models on the development and maintenance of the addictive use of the Internet. Control processes are particularly reduced when individuals with Internet addiction are confronted with Internet-related cues representing their first choice use. For example, processing Internet-related cues interferes with working memory performance and decision making. Consistent with this, results from functional neuroimaging and other neuropsychological studies demonstrate that cue-reactivity, craving, and decision making are important concepts for understanding Internet addiction. The findings on reductions in executive control are consistent with other behavioral addictions, such as pathological gambling. They also emphasize the classification of the phenomenon as an addiction, because there are also several similarities with findings in substance dependency. The neuropsychological and neuroimaging results have important clinical impact, as one therapy goal should enhance control over the Internet use by modifying specific cognitions and Internet use expectancies.
Internet addiction (IA) has become a serious mental health condition in many countries. To better understand the clinical implications of IA, this study tested statistically a new theoretical model illustrating underlying cognitive mechanisms contributing to development and maintenance of the disorder. The model differentiates between a generalized Internet addiction (GIA) and specific forms. This study tested the model on GIA on a population of general Internet users. The findings from 1019 users show that the hypothesized structural equation model explained 63.5% of the variance of GIA symptoms, as measured by the short version of the Internet Addiction Test. Using psychological and personality testing, the results show that a person’s specific cognitions (poor coping and cognitive expectations) increased the risk for GIA. These two factors mediated the symptoms of GIA if other risk factors were present such as depression, social anxiety, low self-esteem, low self-efficacy, and high stress vulnerability to name a few areas that were measured in the study. The model shows that individuals with high coping skills and no expectancies that the Internet can be used to increase positive or reduce negative mood are less likely to engage in problematic Internet use, even when other personality or psychological vulnerabilities are present. The implications for treatment include a clear cognitive component to the development of GIA and the need to assess a patient’s coping style and cognitions and improve faulty thinking to reduce symptoms and engage in recovery.