Internet addiction is a growing problem,
For an increasing number of people, this addiction – which might evoke images of shadowy tweets in back alleys and twelve-step meetings to overcome Facebook obsessions – is no laughing matter.
Like any addiction, it impairs their quality of life and damages their relationships. And there’s a good chance someone in your home, office or client roster suffers from it.
“[H]eavy internet use can exacerbate various mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, especially among college-aged students,” writes San Francisco tech lawyer Eric Sinrod. “People who are addicted to the internet [have] more difficulty in managing ordinary daily activities at home, work, school, and in social contexts. These internet addicts experienced problems with planning and time management, and they exhibited impulsive behavior and ADHD.”
Sinrod was writing about a study presented at the 29th Congress of the European College of Neuropharmacology in Vienna.
Back in 1998, an Internet Addiction Test (IAT) was developed. It is still the accepted standard for measuring over-dependence on the internet. But it may be outdated.
“[T]he IAT was developed long before the ubiquitous use of internet-ready smart phones and the pervasive infiltration of the internet into practically all aspects of our lives,” writes Sinrod. “There may be a far greater internet addiction problem than envisioned by the IAT. Frankly, it may not take an updated test or further studies to see the problem around us. We can see our ‘friends’ constantly on Facebook with their smiling faces pretending to conquer the world in everything they do, leaving us to feel lesser in comparison. We can text, tweet, and post to Instagram nonstop, ignoring the real world, nature, and true human connection and affection, to the detriment of our real inner self. Indeed, we now are so bombarded with electronic communications stimuli at all times, do we even have a spare moment to look inside and understand the essence of our real inner self?”
Here is the Internet Addiction Test
The IAT consists of the following 20 questions. Each question calls for one of three answers: Never or rarely; Sometimes; Often or regularly.
You can take the test and get your score here.
- Do you find that you stay online longer than you intended?
- Do you prefer the excitement of the Internet to intimacy with your partner?
- Do you neglect household chores to spend more time online?
- Does your work (or school work) suffer because of the amount of time you spend online?
- Do you form new relationships with others online?
- Do others in your life complain to you about the amount of time you spend online?
- Do you become defensive or secretive when anyone asks you what you do online?
- Have you ever noticed that your job performance or productivity suffers because of the time spent online?
- Do you check your e-mail before something else that you need to do?
- Do you snap, yell, or act annoyed if someone bothers you while you are online?
- Do you find yourself anxiously anticipating when you will go online again?
- Do you block out disturbing thoughts about your life with soothing thoughts of the Internet?
- Do you fear that life without the Internet would be boring, empty, or joyless?
- Do you find yourself saying “just a few more minutes” when online?
- Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet when off-line, or fantasize about being online?
- Do you lose sleep due to being online late at night?
- Do you try to hide how long you've been online?
- Do you choose to spend more time online over going out with others?
- Have you tried to cut down the amount of time you spend online and failed?
- Do you feel depressed, moody, or nervous when you are off-line, which goes away once you are back online?
So how did you score?
- Eric Sinrod, FindLaw http://blogs.findlaw.com/technologist/2016/09/the-internet---latest-addiction.html#more
- 29th ECNP Conference http://www.ecnp-congress.eu/abstracts/abstracts2016.aspx
- Psych Central http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/netaddiction.htm