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  1. #1

    Hooked On The 'Net

    Hooked On The 'Net
    By: Heather Holliday

    ADDICTION
    Over 44 million families are online, and over half of their members--about 25 million people--may qualify as compulsive surfers. So is "Internet Addiction" a new psychological phenomenon?

    In a study published recently in the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers from the University of Florida (UF) and the University of Cincinnati examined the habits of 20 people who had spent more than 30 nonworking hours a week online for the past three years. The participants described skipping sleep, ignoring family responsibilities, and showing up late for work to fulfill their desire to visit chat rooms and surf the Web. The consequences were severe: Many suffered from marital problems, failed in school or lost a job, and accumulated debt.

    The evidence points to a psychological disorder, so researchers probed further and found that the participants' habits met the criteria for impulse control disorders, mental illnesses characterized by an uncontrollable desire to perform a behavior that, once executed, is often followed by a huge sense of relief. And most of the participants had a history of additional psychiatric problems like eating disorders and manic depression.

    Despite their apparent sufferings, the study's participants were not easily identifiable, says Nathan Shapira, Ph.D., a UF assistant psychiatry professor and co-author of the study. "These people were intelligent, well-respected community members," he says. "They were like your next-door neighbor--who just lost control."

    Given the confounding nature of the participants' various symptoms, Shapira believes the essential issue remains: Is Internet "addiction" a distinct disorder or a symptom of another well-defined disorder? "It's too early to know," he says. "But my sense is that this problem is going to get worse as the size and speed of the Internet increases."

    Publication: Psychology Today
    Publication Date: Jul/Aug 2000
    (Document ID: 188)

  2. Cure for Internet addiction (still therory)

    I believe different personalities have different reactions. For example, some can use an addicting drug and be addicted right away while others can fool around with it for years before it catches them off guard and takes control.

    I think a cure for internet addiction would be give them a computer with the good old 2400 Baud dial up modem and tell them to search to their hearts content.

    I tend to believe it is not an addiction as much as a disorder.

  3. #3

    Hooked On The 'Net

    I think a cure for internet addiction would be give them a computer with the good old 2400 Baud dial up modem and tell them to search to their hearts content.
    Great point. Even a 56k dialup connection would be slow enough for some DSL users.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4

    Re: Cure for Internet addiction (still therory)

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcgill
    I think a cure for internet addiction would be give them a computer with the good old 2400 Baud dial up modem and tell them to search to their hearts content.
    LOL!!! Oh, I remember the good old days. <shudder> Never stopped me. ;-)

  5. #5

    Hooked On The 'Net

    I'm old enough to remember 300 baud... yikes!

  6. #6

    Hooked On The 'Net

    dmcgill wrote:
    I think a cure for internet addiction would be give them a computer with the good old 2400 Baud dial up modem and tell them to search to their hearts content.
    LOL.....that would send me back to the library! Can you have a library addiction?

    Cheers
    Judy

  7. #7

    Hooked On The 'Net

    What intrigues me about "Internet addiction" is that, unlike other addictions with which I am familiar, there is no phenomenon of craving when away from the desk. At least not for me, or for others I've spoken with. Spending sufficient time at my desktop can trigger what I imagine is an impulse control disorder, but when I'm geographically away from the computer, I don't even think about it. In my mind, this segues into another interesting phenomenon, in that one's "online personality" often seems to differ significantly from the way that person comes across in "real life." I'm currently trying to work on presenting myself in a more consistent manner online and offline, knowing that I'm likely to be online just about as often as I'm off, barring a major psychic change on my part.

  8. #8

    Hooked On The 'Net

    Spending sufficient time at my desktop can trigger what I imagine is an impulse control disorder, but when I'm geographically away from the computer, I don't even think about it.
    This is a good point and another reason I like the freeware programs at Download.com that remind people to take a break from the computer to prevent repetitive stress injuries. My favorite is Break Reminder, which is free for non-commercial use.

    As a side note, the topic of Internet and TV addiction reminds me of William Shatner titling one of his books Get a Life! as a response to addicted Star Trek fans.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9

    Hooked On The 'Net

    lol. I can remember the old 300 baud modem on my Commodore 64. Logging onto BBS's.

    Wow, can belive how far along things have come.

  10. #10

    Hooked On The 'Net

    lol. I can remember the old 300 baud modem on my Commodore 64. Logging onto BBS's.

    Wow, can belive how far along things have come.

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