Far less harmful, definitely - especially financially. I think spending more than half your waking hours on chat qualifies as an addiction. Years ago, when I didn't realize abuse was abuse - I used to be content all on my own just listening to music all night...I've somehow lost that independence/self-efficacy. I'd do anything to get back to that. The cliches you mentioned have lately escaped my conscious vocabulary - thanks for reminding me about them.
Came across this in the meantime -http://www.helpguide.org/mental/internet_cybersex_addiction.htm