Monday, March 24, 2008

Are You an Internet Addict?

Dr Jerald Block, author of an editorial for the respected American Journal of Psychiatry, has defined internet addiction as a serious public health issue. It's an interesting question. Is it possible to have too much internet, or is this new medium merely being used in ways which will define us in the future? Overall I think 'excessive' is hard to define, and looking for new and better equipment isn't a disorder at all.

For me this is a cautionary tale, a reminder that as our relationships with machines inexorably increase, there is a risk that our human ones deteriorate in turn, possibly without our realising it. The internet is a medium which is still in its infancy, which as a society we're still not fully adept at using, and one where the rules and conventions regarding what is acceptable and what is not are still in flux. It's not surprising that a communications medium which offers quite literally everything should warp human behaviour in previously unseen or unexpected ways.

  • Do you use it to escape from problems (eg, feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

I did, but now I've started practising meditation those days are over. There does need to be greater public discussion about where the internet belongs in life, I agree. I'm currently experimenting with only paring back to only a couple of hours a day, and focusing almost entirely on blogging and photography.

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