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Are you addicted to the Internet?

 

Are you addicted to the Internet?

 

Like wildfire, a study made by Chinese scientist started in Britain and was quickly picked up by every media outlet in the United States. According to the study, it was observed that there were differences in the brains of people who obsessively used the internet, much like people who have substance addiction. After reading the initial story on Fox.com I quickly checked the NY Times online, Yahoo news, CNN.com, and then 14 random blogs to verify if this was true. Could there actually be a thing such as internet addiction?

While streaming music from Spotify, playing Words with Friends on Facebook, checking my email, and IMing friends about the playoff games this weekend (I was on my lunch break - I swear); I took a moment to reflect. But then a friend linked me to a video of Jimmy Fallon doing Tebowie (Tim Tebow + David Bowie - EPIC!) and I lost my train of thought.

Getting back to work was hard. In retrospect I would check Facebook every 15 or 20 minutes if I wasn't on SI.com or just seeing what new posts my boys at Manwall had put up. Was I fooling myself? Was I addicted? Sure working for Manwall, looking at posts is part of the job....or was I just developing a problem?

So far psychologists and psychiatrists have been debating about whether the internet could pose a real addiction and have yet to come to a consensus. Most studies truly lack any sort of consistent model or controls to verify data; nor do they take into the context of use. That would lead a person to believe that you can't get addicted to the internet.

Sure I spent a good 30 hours last week looking at porn on the internet. But does that mean I am addicted to the internet or just to porn? I am sure the older generation of males are stoked they can just use a slim laptop instead of carting around 50 pounds of magazines with pages stuck together. Also technically some of that porn was work related (or so I keep insisting to my wife).

Am I addicted to the internet because I am constantly online Sunday night during the football season pouring over stats and figures for my fantasy leagues? No I am just a guy with an unhealthy attachment to beating the crap out of my friends in any way I can.

The internet is only a problem if you realize that the entire weekend has passed by and you are still in a bathrobe with three days growth, two boxes of empty pizza, beer cans strewn all over the floor, and not a single story of the epic night you had. If that story does include any sort of 36 hour marathon session playing World of Warcraft or creating the most amazing farmstead on Frontierville then you should seek help.

Otherwise the internet is a very useful tool and one of the best ways to check on sports, watch porn, and waste time when you are too lazy to find another way to waste time. Don't worry; you probably aren't addicted to the internet. It's not like you fall asleep curled around your laptop right?