Several people I know have recently confessed of their perceived addiction to the Internet. I do not think this diagnosis can be described as broad as “Internet addiction” without getting a better understanding of what exactly draws them to connect (e.g., socialization, information, gaming, combinations of these, etc.). In any case, I believe that addictions associated to existing and emerging technologies are real, and understanding these will be of increasing importance to educators, parents, and our youth.
Chinese doctors recently “released the country’s first diagnostic definition of Internet addiction” in the midst of increases to psychological disorders attributed to Internet overuse. The country will officially designate hospital psychiatric units to treat cases of Internet addiction.
So, do you fit the bill?
Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.
See full article here.
Update: There is a better article on the same development at the Times Online.
Photo Credit: nataliejohnson