Are you hooked on the Net?

Or have you already clicked away to some other site in an aimless journey through cyberspace? Internet addiction was first identified as a joke at a medical conference a couple of years ago, but since then, the joke has become real for a lot of people.

To find out if an addiction to the Net really exists, Viktor Brenner, a Ph.D candidate in Clinical Psychology at SUNY in Buffalo, New York, posted a survey on the Web (where else?). He got a good response (net addicts like interactivity) and some interesting results:

  • 58% have been told they spend too much time on the Internet

  • 46% said they had less than four hours of sleep in a night, more than once, because they were using the Internet

  • 31% said their work and/or performance deteriorated since they started using the Internet

  • 30% said they tried to spend less time on the Internet but were not successful

  • 12% said they know most of their friends from the Internet

  • 7% said they had been reprimanded by their employer/school for Internet-related activities

  • Of course, since the survey was published on the Net, the results do raise the question of bia There are "addicts" to everything from television to trashy novels, but since it is hard to get their opinions on anything (they’re busy) no one dares call them "addicts". On the other hand, Net enthusiasts are doing something that a lot of people still don’t really understand, which makes some suspicious and more than willing to toss around the "A" word.

    But, if you really do have withdrawal symptoms when not online ("anxiety, obsessive thinking about what is happening on the Internet, fantasies or dreams about the Internet and voluntary or involuntary typing movements of the fingers") there may be something missing from your life, and it’s not a 56K modem. See your doctor, and don’t, as many articles suggest in all sincerity, join an ONLINE support group for Internet addicts. That would be like holding a Smokers’ Anonymous meeting in a bingo hall.