Much of the original research was based upon the weakest type of research methodology, namely exploratory surveys with no clear hypothesis, agreed-upon definition of the term, or theoretical conceptualization.
Coming from an atheoretical approach has some benefits, but also is not typically recognized as being a strong way to approach a new disorder.
Yet media stories, and some researchers, covering this issue usually use a case study to help "illustrate" the problem.
All a case study does is influence our emotional reactions to the issue; it does nothing to help us further understand the actual problem and the many potential explanations for it.
It's not the technology (whether it be the Internet, a book, the telephone, or the television) that is important or addicting -- it's the behavior.