Digital traces of behaviour within addiction: Response to Griffiths (2017)

Griffiths’ (2017) response to the recent commentary piece by Ryding and Kaye (2017) on “Internet Addiction: A conceptual minefield” provided a useful critique and extension of some key issues. We take this opportunity to further build upon on one of these issues to provide some further insight into how the field of “internet addiction” (IA) or technological addictions more generally, may benefit from capitalising on behavioural data. As such, this response extends Griffiths’ (2007) points surrounding the efficacy of behavioural data previously used in studies on problematic gambling, to consider its merit for future research on IA or associated topics such as Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) or “Smartphone addiction”. Within this, we highlight the challenges associated with utilising behavioural data but provide some practical solutions which may support researchers and practitioners in this field. These recent developments could, in turn, advance our understanding and potentially validate such concepts by establishing behavioural correlates, conditions and contexts. Indeed, corroborating behavioural metrics alongside self-report measures presents a key opportunity if scholars and practitioners are to move the field forward.