Internet Addiction?

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.

Internet Addict!

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

  • http://tech-lou-ology.blogspot.com Louis

    Interesting article and I love the picture – worth studying. Is there anything in life that a segment of the population will not overindulge in?

  • http://randyrodgers.edublogs.org Randy Rodgers

    Uh-oh.

  • http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros Alec couros

    @Louis: I do not think there is much out there that humans cannot become addicted to.

    @Randy: I know, I do not post this without some of my own guilt. :-)

  • http://www.davidlamorte.com David LaMorte

    This seems a like a vague diagnosis, this just seems like someone with obsessive tendencies with a focus on the web and not a diagnosis onto itself.

  • http://www.marturia.net Ian H.

    I’m not convinced that the internet is addictive in and of itself – I think it’s a means of connecting people to things that they would be addicted to regardless of medium.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com Hans

    What if you are a student or employee who is required to work 6-8 hours a day on the internet?

  • http://ransomtech.edublogs.org/ Steve Ransom

    One problem I foresee is this type of individual failing to connect and seek out relationships in the physical world. I love the cartoon of the kid at his computer trying to add more Facebook friends while a bunch of friends are at his door wanting to interact. His response: I’m busy trying to get more friends.
    Addiction for most goes a little too far, but I think that young adolescents in particular need plenty of opportunity to be social in the physical world… of course, engaging in positive, healthy activities – not hanging out behind the video arcade.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com Lukas

    I think it is shocking that so many internet user are addicted to it. I think it is a good idea to have hospitals that take care of this problem because there has to be something done if somebody spends more than 6 hours on the internet everyday.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com/ happy

    i think this is just stuped you can be actedto the inetnet

  • http://Website Jake B

    I don’t believe that the internet itself is addicting but the programs and things people access on the internet. I don’t think that this should be a valid diagnosis.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com/ John

    Internet has become such a huge part of life that I believe people need to use the internet to function and are not addicted. However, I agree that the internet prevents physical interactions, which bad for human development.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com Morgan

    I love the internet, I love facebook, I like myspace. I love everything about the internet but it is getting pretty obsessive. I think everybody is addicted to the internet. If you don’t know something, look it up on the internet. It is the fastest way to do anything but, it is getting bad. Everyone is on the internet and many jobs and for students require the internet. We are not helping ourselves but, the internet is the fast way to get the knowledge we need to know. I don’t know what I would do without the internet, personally.

  • http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/bowllan Amy Bowllan

    I have to admit, this post is true and troubling. The angst I had while reading it, made me a touch nervous.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com Kyd

    I am really worried about I face the computer about 6 hours everyday. I think play computer for such a long time is so dangerous for your body. But we can’t leave the computer, we need it. So I really confused about how we can not face the computer for long time.

  • http://info.ulrich-schrader.de Ulrich

    I am afraid, I am addicted to life and life long learning. This is supposed to be quite serious as it usually ends with death. Just the thought of withdrawal make me anxious and nervous.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com Conner

    There are some people in the world that it is their job to be in use of the internet 24 hours a day. Their are some people though who sit looking at junk and not really doing anything productive with their 24 hours. I don’t think it can be an addiction though.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com/ Chris

    This article scared me,but this is the truth. Many people are addicated on internet. I think there is one why can change this situation.

  • http://Website Winslow

    Hey. I find this article very interesting because some people seem to be addicted to the internet. I don’t think they are actually addicted to the internet but they are addicted to the websites and programs on the internet. I know many shocking statistics about how long some people are on facebook. These statistics are crazy. I don’t think the internet in itself is addicting though.

  • http://iltech.wikispaces.com Qiutong

    What is that woman doing? That really scared me. When I was in front of the computer I don’t want leave, but after I saw this picture I think I control myself better, I don’t want to be like her……