Internet Addiction ( Pathological Internet Use )
The Internet has become one of the most universal methods for communication with over 100 million users worldwide. From e-mail to the possibly billions of web pages, there is an infinite amount of information flowing. And another enticing aspect of the Internet, is the opportunity to interact with other people. Chat Rooms and MUD (Multi-User Dimensional) games offer the person the ability to talk and mingle with others online. But with this newfound freedom, also comes the possibility of abuse and addiction.
Internet addiction, also known as Pathological Internet use, has emerged as a very destructive force in today’s society. David Greenfield believes “an estimated 6 percent of the web users 100 million people are thought to be online addicts, and that number is growing everyday.” But what causes Internet Addiction? There are many different causes, but one of the most essential, is thought to be a personality disorder. Carol Potera, an author in Psychology Today says, “The lone, bored, depress, introverted, lacking self-esteem, or have a history of addictions are most vulnerable.” This group of people seems to be the most susceptible to all mental disorders, psychologically or physical. These people need to fill the void that has been created by not having any real life relationships, so they turn to the Internet, just as if someone would turn to drugs. Greenfield thinks “people feel closer, quicker to the people they communicated with online than in real life; time passes freely, and people like the anonymity.” (Greenfield)
A study conducted by the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society and InterSurvey (headed by Norman H Nie and Lutz Erbing) had some interesting findings. Twenty-five percent of the surveyed participants (4,113 in 2,689 households) say that web time has reduced their time spent with friends and family and participating in events outside the home. They also found that nearly 60% of the surveyed cut back on television viewing also, in which
Erbing added that “the Internet could be the ultimate isolating technology that further reduces our participation in communities, even more than TV did before.” (Erbing)
This is a relatively new disorder, and there hasn’t been much studying or research of it. So how does one know if he or she is a pathological Internet user? There are a few symptoms that are good indicators of a problem, says Kimberly S. Young of AddictionSolutions.com. “Neglecting family activities, social events, work, school in order to spend more time on the Internet is probably the biggest sign of Internet addiction.” (Young) But also suffering withdrawal symptoms, not being able to limit time online, constantly thinking about the next online session, and preferring to talk to cyber-friends rather than face-to-face conversations are also signs.
There are about 3 distinct situations in which internet addiction can...