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Authors: Bach Xuan Tran, Giang Hai Ha, Giang Thu Vu, Chi Linh Hoang, Son Hoang Nguyen, Cuong Tat Nguyen, Carl. A. Latkin, Wilson WS Tam, Cyrus S. H. Ho and Roger C. M. Ho


Background and aims

Excessive use of electronic devices has become a major global problem. However, little is known about the development and current landscape of research concerning this field. This study aimed at exploring the overall publication trend and topics of research on the overuse of electronic devices and the Internet from 1971 to 2017.


We systematically searched the Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus databases for published articles on the excessive use of electronic devices and the Internet. Data regarding the publication volume, international collaborations, and geographical locations were analyzed by bibliometrics analysis. Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) was undertaken to categorize publications into different research topics.


A total of 2,276 papers from the WOS and 600 papers from the Scopus were included. We found a dramatic increase in the number of scientific papers towards addiction to electronic devices and the Internet. The United State led in all publication parameters including the total number of papers and total citations. China, Korea and Taiwan were among the most prolific countries/regions. Smartphone addiction was the main concern, and the relationship between the overuse of electronic devices and the Internet and mental health issues have been highlighted. On the other hand, our study found a limited appearance of discussion on effective treatment and intervention.

Discussion and Conclusion

The findings of this study call for more national and international cooperation in evaluating and intervening addiction to electronic devices and the Internet to gather more knowledge about this phenomenon and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

Open access