A new survey highlighting the increasing isolation felt by unemployed people strengthens claims internet-addiction is causing suffering across the UK, according to Professor Nada Kakabadse, an academic expert in technology and social behaviour.
Nada believes her work on Compulsive Internet Use (CIU) can be linked to research by the University and College Union (UCU), which has found that a third of young people rarely leave the house, and many of those who are unemployed feel marginalised, pessimistic and lacking in control over their lives.
The UCU poll examined the views of some 1,000 youngsters, aged 16-24, not in education, employment or training - so-called Neets - and additionally states that a third had experienced depression.
Nada explains: "These finding resonate with our 'Compulsive Internet Use in Adults' study 2013, which surveyed over 560 UK adults aged 18-65, and suggests that it is not just the young who are suffering.
"In fact over 60% of UK adults can now be classified as internet addicts, with unemployed women forming the largest group of compulsive online users.
"We also discovered that unemployed individuals are at a higher risk of developing CIU due to their excessive levels of web use, an issue that appears to be steadily increasing during the economic downturn."
Other key findings of the CIU in Adults study include:
63% of British adults can be classified as suffering CIU
CIU is higher among unemployed, middle-aged women, who have voracious appetites for using social media
Women make more use of the internet for mood-changing purposes than men
Sexting (sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs) is an early indicator of CIU in unemployed people
Excessive email use and blogging indicates developing CIU in employed people
Workaholics are more likely to become compulsive internet users
Compulsive internet users rely less on face-to-face support from friends
Nada adds: "These findings add to a growing body of evidence which shows the UK population is becoming unhealthily addicted to internet use.
"We believe the isolation felt by the unemployed is a rapidly developing problem representing a real threat to social and political stability.
"We are calling for the Health and Safety Executive to urgently address these risks, and promote healthy internet use to help the young and recently unemployed. Businesses also need to better develop cultures which enhance people's work-life balances, and help manage employees' use of technology both in and outside of the workplace."