Was Walker suffering from a true addiction to the Internet or just a bad habit? An emerging area of research has developed to study those who are obsessed with logging on to the World Wide Web. Scientists say brain scans of heavy Internet users reveal changes in both the size of certain parts of the brain as well as its function. They say it is possible to become addicted to the Internet.

“The new research, whether it’s imaging research or genetic research or other kinds of research, [is] pointing to a biological disposition, something in our biology that makes it easy for us to fall in love with a video game or with the Internet. And for a proportion of us, this love affair can start looking like an addiction,” said Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, who runs Stanford University’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Clinic and Impulse Control Disorders Clinic and recently completed one of the largest studies to examine how common problematic Internet use is in the United States.