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Exploring New Digital Addictions: Developing a WhatsApp Addiction Index

Addeo, F., D’auria, V., Esposito, V. , Perrone, R. & Bottoni, G. (2023). Exploring New Digital Addictions: Developing a WhatsApp Addiction Index. Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 15(2), pp. 95-121. doi: 10.14658/PUPJ-IJSE-2023-2-6


In recent decades, computer-mediated communication has become increasingly intense and frequent due to the fast growing, widespread of social media platforms. In particular, WhatsApp could be now considered one of our daily channels of private conversations: we deepen relationships, flirt, make appointments, gossip. Originally created as a channel to replace the traditional paid SMS, it has now become, along with other social networks, an extension of our offline lives. However, many studies (Ko, et al., 2007; Brand et al., 2016; 2019) show that excessive use of social media can lead to pathological attitudes. Problems arise when face-to-face communication is completely replaced by mediated communication, or when mediated communication gets in the way of other activities in our daily lives. Our contribution discusses the preliminary results of a study aimed at developing and subsequently starting to validate an index to detect WhatsApp addiction. This exploratory study is based on the implementation of an online survey using both a WhatsApp addiction index developed by us and some validated scales: Internet Addiction Assessment (Young, 1998), Smartphone Addiction Scale (Yang, et al., 2013), and Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) Scale (Przybylski, 2013).

Publication Type: Article
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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