Copy News and Media2024-02-22T18:30:02+00:00


Insights on Digital Addictions Unveiled at the 9th International Conference on Behavioral Addictions
July 8–10, 2024
A group of the BootStRaP project experts got together at the ICBA 2024 (organizers Zsolt Demetrovics and Andrea Czako) to showcase their most recent research findings.  Here is a short recap of what members of the BootStRaP project talked about at the congress:

Sophia Achab presented counseling intervention model for Gaming Disorder. She emphasized the importance of understanding of the specificity of the case. The assessment will allow the counselor to refer to specialists for treatment, in presence of alarming symptoms or clear patterns of maladaptive use. Working with relatives will be mainly shaped by Gaming limits’ management. National resources are very helpful, and communicating them to relatives is key in empowering them.

Matthias Brand discussed the applicability of substance-use disorder theories to behavioral addictions. He pointed out the importance of understanding how psychological and neurological processes interplay in addiction.

Sebastian Brand introduced the IViS questionnaire, a new screening tool for Gaming Disorder. This quick, symbol-based instrument promises to streamline the identification of gaming addiction.

Andrea Czakó presented a tool to assess gambling motives with an aim to enhance understanding and treatment of gambling addiction.

Chang Liu emphasized the significance of cognitive rigidity in problematic internet use and advocated for personalized intervention approaches tailored to individual symptom profiles.

Katajun Lindenberg provided statistics on the prevalence of online behavioral addictions in teenagers, including a range of behaviors such as gambling, gaming, social media use, and online shopping. The survey emphasizes the increasing worry about digital addictions among young people.

Nana Löchner findings indicate a positive correlation between problematic social media usage, as assessed using mobile sensing, and increased stress and depression over time. This highlights the need of assessing and managing social media behaviors in order to mitigate mental health problems.

Christian Montag conducted a study investigating the relationship between personality characteristics and problematic use of TikTok. The study revealed that those with higher levels of neuroticism and lower levels of conscientiousness might be at risk of developing problematic TikTok use. His research indicates that the addiction framework might fit to describe excessive TikTok use.

Ina Neumann identified that difficulties in managing emotions and difficulty in forming relationships with peers are significant factors that might predict the development of Social Network Use Disorder and Internet Gaming Disorder.

Marc N. Potenza shared that a digital application for delivering Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to individuals with Gaming Disorder will soon be available and may ultimately help improve treatment

Hans-Jürgen Rumpf compared functional impairments in vocational students with Social Network Use Disorder and Internet Gaming Disorder. Results of his research indicate that both groups exhibit comparable degrees of impairment, highlighting the serious impact of these conditions.

Christopher Kannen presented his study on the willingness to pay for messaging apps like WhatsApp, revealing that many users are still unwilling to pay for social media/messengers. The advantages of paying with money instead of with one’s data must be better communicated to increase users’ willingness to pay.

These talks emphasize the urgent need for ongoing research and personalized solutions to tackle the escalating problem of problematic internet use.

Young People, Scientists, and Technology Experts — United Across Countries Against Problematic Use of the Internet

PRESS RELEASE, 14/05/2024.

With the start of the European Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May), we are announcing our joint activity in the BootStRaP project countries.

A new, ground-breaking study using smart technology to boost mental health and combat the growing burden of problematic internet use has started. The BootStRaP project (Boosting Societal Adaptation and Mental Health in a Rapidly Digitizing Post-Pandemic Europe), running across 14 countries, uses Smart technology to address the risks of problematic internet use by young people.

The project scientists are eager to assist parents, guardians, teachers, and healthcare professionals in identifying risks and understand how they may lead to harm or poor health.

“The main goal of the project is to reduce the harmful effects of digitalization on young people’s mental health“, says project leader Professor Naomi A. Fineberg. “The online daily habits of young people will be investigated using a mobile application (app)”.

Young people will be directly involved in the co-creation of the app and in the research process of this study.

“We recruit several thousands of teenagers via schools across Europe to explore how they use the internet and how this relates to their wellbeing. We then formulate guidelines for healthier internet use (at and determine how behavioral changes can reduce risks and prevent problematic usage of the internet developing”, says professor Dr. Jose M. Menchon, a researcher leading the Societal and Policy Change working group in the project. “We aim to deliver global policy recommendations to address problematic use of the internet based on robust scientific evidence“.


  • An estimated 10% to 17% of the global population is affected by problematic use of the internet.
  • A range of online behaviours such as gaming, gambling, buying, pornography viewing, social networking, ‘cyber-bullying,’ and ‘cyberchondria’ are known to cause problems for individuals and their families owing to loss of control over online activity.
  • The World Health Organization recognizes online gambling, gaming and compulsive sexual behaviour as official mental health disorders.
BootStRaP is funded by the Horizon Europe program, the UK Research and Innovation program and the Swiss State
Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation.

For more information please contact:
Dr. Julius Burkauskas, Lead of Communication and Dissemination Team (WP5), Societal and Policy Change working group /

News about the BootStRaP project spread around the world (updated 15/05/2024):
Australia   Scientists unite globally to tackle problematic internet use
Australia   A pioneering study into problematic internet use among young people
Australia   Scientists unite globally to tackle problematic internet use
Gibraltar   University Of Gibraltar – Mental Health Awareness Week – Horizon Europe BootStRaP Project
Gibraltar   The University of Gibraltar is involved with international project addressing risks of problematic internet use by young people
Hungary   International cooperation against problematic Internet use
Hungary   International cooperation against problematic Internet use
Hungary   International cooperation against problematic Internet use
Hungary   International cooperation against problematic Internet use
Italy   Internet addiction prevention: a presentation from Florence of the Horizon 2023-2028 project
Italy   European Research for Action Against Internet Addiction in the Post Covid-19 Era
Lithuania   Smart technologies to address the challenges of problematic Internet use
Lithuania   Smart technologies to address the challenges of problematic Internet use
Lithuania   Smart technologies to address the challenges of problematic Internet use
Lithuania   Smart technologies to address the challenges of problematic Internet use
Spain   Young people, scientists, and technology experts unite across countries against problematic use of the internet – IDIBELL
Spain   Dr Menchón leads a European study to combat problematic Internet use among young people
Spain   The Gregorio Marañón in Madrid, the only Spanish hospital that participates in a European study on problematic Internet use
Spain   El Marañón leads a European project in Spain against problematic internet use by young people
Spain   Young people and scientists across 14 countries unite against problematic internet use
UK   European project to combat problematic internet use among young people
Scientists inspired by youth!

23 April 2024 

Authors: Naomi Fineberg, Julius Burkauskas, Ella Sheltawy and Renata Gaudinskaite

The Bootstrap project being conducted throughout Europe began its first Bootcamp meeting from March 14th to 16th.

The project initiators at Missenden Abbey, UK had the honour of hosting over 50 committed student young experts, instructors, and academics from all partner countries. The most notable aspect: the active participation of young people was the main focus throughout. Placing the voices of our youth at the forefront, in addition to those of educators. This initiative aims to guarantee ethical and secure involvement at every stage of our research process.

As co-production specialists, EYMH believe that you can’t really listen to or co-create with people you don’t know, so forging connections was the first goal of the Bootcamp. The Bootcamp kicked off with a workshop run by EYMH in collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire, which aimed to get every single attendee at the Bootcamp involved – talking to new people regardless of their background, language, country or age range.

Young people connected with this message, and in a collaboration, exercise set the rest of the consortium the challenge to keep speaking with people from different parts of Europe. Educational workshops then began, helping young people to learn about problematic usage of the Internet, the research cycle, and how young people can be involved, and teachers and researchers to explore mobile sensing, machine learning and Citizen Science.

The findings were very beneficial as scientists, alongside young people, discussed the motivating factors that drive them to engage in research. Now, equipped with great excitement, the project leaders are prepared to convert every piece of advice from young people into actionable steps in project specific research methods. Stay tuned as the project progresses with the outcomes towards a healthier and more interconnected future!

Mexico, symposia “Health risks related to internet use”

International forum on ‘Addictive Behaviours and Crimes Associated with Internet Use’ organised by MINISTRY OF SECURITY AND CITIZEN PROTECTION VIOLENCE AND CRIME PREVENTION UNIT and Pompidou Group – The Council of Europe (19-20/12/2023), Mexico City, Mexico.
Julius Burkauskas and Naomi A. Fineberg present “Research advances in problematic use of the internet and key evidence gaps” at the symposia “Health risks related to internet use”.

Stefano Pallanti speaks about BootStraP in Roma, Italy

Centro Alti Studi per la Difesa, Aggiornamenti in tema di Psichiatria e Psicologia Militare, Rome, Italy (06/12/2023).

Stefano Pallanti invited a speaker to present the project – “Gambling and other addictions: prevention and treatment in civil and military context”.

Julius Burkauskas speaks about the BootStRaP project and presents issues related to PUI (in Lithuanian)

November 20, 2023

“You don’t need to ask a person if you are addicted to the Internet. More importantly, does surfing the Internet cause your social problems?” says psychologist-psychotherapist Dr. Julius Burkauskas. He works at the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Palanga, where he also advises people on so-called screen addiction (further – Lithuanian).

Read more


Let’s stay in touch! Join our social media community for the latest updates on the BootStRaP project from our wide-spread team!


The BootStRaP project is a long-term international study with its own brand and identity. This is a tangible and intangible element, including its history, name, and design – visual identity. The origin of the BootStRaP logo has its roots in the preceding activities of the European Network for Problematic Internet Use (COST action, Net&Me), whose success has significantly expanded the world’s understanding of the connections between health, internet usage, and behavior.

The updated BootStRaP logo reflects continuity and symbolizes the idea of togetherness, uniting a network of scientists researching the influence of the digital world on our brains and behaviour and inspiring us with a new idea: Resilient in times of change.


If you have any comments or questions about this website or the project, please feel free to contact us.

Go to Top