Internet Addiction: It's Real and We Think We Have It

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Are you addicted to the internet? How do you know? We figured out that we were hooked when we found ourselves refreshing a blog page over and over several times a day to try and read new posts as soon as they were up. The fact that we had the time to do that obviously means we were putting something else—presumably something more important—on the back burner to enable our Web-head selves. But is internet addiction a punchline or a cause for rehab? Well, the Beijing Health Ministry is soon to adopt "internet addiction" as a disorder along with compulsive gambling and alcoholism in the official diagnostic manual... So what are the symptoms?

Symptoms of addiction include yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. Check, Check, Check and Check. (We kid about having the mental distress stuff, but we totally feel the yearning to get back online thing sometimes.)

The definition of internet addiction is based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users. Users classified as addicts were those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.

About 10 percent of young users suffer Internet addiction, an earlier survey revealed, and about 70 percent are male. So, are you addicted?

[ Via China Daily ][ Image from altemark@Flickr ]

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Taryn is a writer, maker, designer, and editor of lifestyle blog Formal Fringe. She lives in an apartment in Atlanta with her fiancé, their Boston Terrier and lots of serving dishes.

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