Internet addiction, what do you think of it?
I personally don't buy into this stuff.
Here is a list of questions from http://www.netaddiction.com/resources/internet_addiction_test.htm
And if ever Internet Addiction makes it into the DSM of psychology, and is officially a state recognized disease, these questions will be in the DSM, though most likely slightly modified.
Some of these questions are somewhat reasonable, but many of them are just stupid, and in some cases I suspect they are purposely trying to create false positives.
And I've read reports by people who have internet addiction and talk about their struggle. But you know what, I'm not convinced they have an actual internet addiction, I am convinced these people are just ultra susceptible to the power of suggestion. Each person that believes he needs a 12 step program to help him break his internet addiction, I believe he could just as easily be made to believe himself to have an addiction to soda pop.
There are plenty of people who drink a lot of soda. And soda does contain caffeine and sugar. But I think what they are "addicted" to is the fact soda tastes good. And giving up a small pleasure with no immediate reward for doing so, requires self control.
So I think you can easily convince certain gullible people that they have a dangerous problem and need help, in spite of the fact they don't consume any more soda than the average person, and it has no more negative impact on them than the average person. Again, I think there are people out there that can just so easily be convinced of things through the power of even the simplest suggestion.
Anyhow, here are the questions from that site.
2. How often do you neglect household chores to spend more time on-line?
Neglecting to do chores in favor of something fun isn't addictive behavior, it's called laziness, nothing more, nothing less. And for everyone who insists they do this a lot, well, take away that internet and their excuse to not do a chore is "after this TV show, ok after this TV show, well after this TV show... oh I guess it's too late to do that chore now, might as well finish watching these TV shows."
3. How often do you prefer the excitement of the Internet to intimacy with your partner?
Here is the interesting thing about that one. If you take some 18 year old nerdy boy who's never gotten laid, spends all of his free time on the interwebz playing WoW, and in every respect is an archetypical internet addict, and suddenly a really hot and sexy woman comes over to his house, and begins talking to him... he will stop playing WoW, let his guild mates lose the battle, and disconnect that computer in the blink of an eye to talk to this real life hottie. If, the person in question is 45, and his partner is a 45 year old woman with saggy granny boobs, you're going to see a lot more of him on the interwebz, googling images of sexy women and not having time for his partner. Or maybe if he's in his 40's or heck even his 30's, he could have erectile dysfunction. What I'm getting at is the internet could be the excuse of the day for answering yes to this question, and not at all the real reason.
4. How often do you form new relationships with fellow on-line users?
This is interesting because it attempts to say that forming online relationships, romantic or friendly, is a negative thing. But interestingly this test (and all the crap you find in the DSM) says making friends is a good thing. But apparently it's only good to make relationships face to face. Online friends isn't real for some strange reason. Making friends with people at your school? Good! Making friends with the Guild mates? Bad!
And if we mean romance, fine. Staying at home whacking off to the Playboy you bought? Good!
Staying home whacking off to you're online girlfriend's sexual teasing on a web cam? Bad!
5. How often do others in your life complain to you about the amount of time you spend on-line?
I could easily see someone answering an affirmative to this question, and yet it being based far more on living with or around control freaks, than actually having an addiction. I remember years back IMing someone and asking where they were for the past few days, and they told me their mom said they spent too much time online, and needed to take a break from the computer. I asked "Well what did you do" they answered "I watched TV all week". So apparently you can rot away in front of the boob tube, that's not a problem, but spend that time on the computer and you got a problem. And how many nagging girlfriends/wives can you see nagging their man to get off the computer and pay more attention to them, because he dared to turn his back on her for 5 minutes, and she tightens up that leash. I mean it could be the sign of an addiction, or a sign you live with a control freak.
6. How often do your grades or school work suffer because of the amount of time you spend on-line?
Now this is an interesting one because I have spoken to a lot of people online who claimed they were doing their homework, while talking to me. So apparently it's good to be online doing research for homework. So I don't think it's "being on-line" that's the problem, I think it's being on-line and not doing your homework, or more accurately, it's not doing your homework that is causing you to not do your homework. And I truly believe that every person who answers "yes" to this question, if you remove the computer from their house they will do the same amount of work, only TV, or telephone chat, is what they will waste their time doing.
7. How often do you check your e-mail before something else that you need to do?
Umm, I don't know how to address this question. I mean, if it said "checking your email IN PLACE of doing something you NEED to do" I might have a comment.
8. How often does your job performance or productivity suffer because of the Internet?
Mmm, I am gonna go with a case of laziness on this one. For every person that answers affirmative to this, if you take away the internet, it would just be TV, the radio, books, or some other activity. Laziness is just a matter of doing what you WANT to do instead of what you SHOULD do. So this doesn't seem to be a category of addiction, it's a category of "are you lazy?"
9. How often do you become defensive or secretive when anyone asks you what you do on-line?
This is interesting. This makes me laugh. And I am most curious to know how the person who came up with this question, came up with this question LOL
You only become secretive and defensive if you're doing something someone disapproves of.
And when do people ask what you're doing online? I think the only time anyone ever asks "what are you doing online" it is a hint that you need to pay attention to them, or you need to go do something for them, and it's a nagging sort of hint that reflexively makes you want to screen "none of your damn business you control freak, you're not the boss of me" but instead just speak sharply "nothing! Why do you need to know?"
I'm sorry, but' it's just a weird question.
10. How often do you block out disturbing thoughts about your life with soothing thoughts of the Internet?
Alright, if you answered yes to this one, you might seriously have a problem LMAO
I mean, maybe if it read "soothing thoughts of online related content and activities" it might be different. But as it stands now, it's a bit like asking "ever consider leaving your wife and kids and eloping with the internet?" and of course if you answer yes to that you got serious problems LOL
11. How often do you find yourself anticipating when you will go on-line again?
This question is the first reasonable question. All though, it should be more accurately phrased as "how often do you find yourself doing an other wise fun activity, but are unable to enjoy it due to anticipation of getting on-line"
I could see someone having an incredibly boring time at work, stuck in traffic, riding that long bus home, listening to a bunch of old women chatting at the dinner table, waiting in the lobby, standing at the bus stop, or a million other day to day boring scenarios, and filling their head with thoughts of watching some on-line movies, or playing that new game they got, or chatting with some on-line pals about the funny thing that happened at work, or anticipating checking your email to see if the hot girl you emailed has responded. That's normal healthy behavior. Anticipating a fun or interesting activity when your bored out of your skull is normal. This would only be obsessive, compulsive, addictive, behavior if you were preoccupied with on-line activities, while doing something fun. You're on a date with a hot girl, and all you can think about is "I can't wait to get home and look at some lolcats" than you gotta problem.
12 How often do you fear that life without the Internet would be boring, empty, and joyless?
You know what, I am so guilty of this. Even when the internet was a pretty new thing, circa 1997, I always feared it would die off, get locked down by the government, get bought up and monopolized by trillion dollar corporate industries. And when Napster and the like came out, I warned everyone "enjoy it while it lasts, cause it won't last long" Back in the 90's and even today, I warn people that the internet as we know is a new and incredibly dangerous thing. It's dangerous because it lets us, the little guys, have a voice, and never in all the world history, have we the little guy, ever had a voice. The internet is our voice!
But more accurate to the question, would life without the internet be boring, empty, joyless? Of course it would. It's equal to asking the question "would life without music be boring, empty, and joyless?" and "life with out books and theater". Well in all of those cases, there would still be joyous occasions, winning a war, hearing the doctor say "he's going to live!" or "it's not cancer", getting sex, hitting the lottery. Yes there would still be joy, but joy would be much more rare if we removed such things as the internet, movies, music, books, from our lives.
Look at all the wonderful things the internet has done for us:
allowed poor people to experience $200,000 worth of music, games, porn, movies, and programs for free over the last decade. I honestly believe with the amount of music, games, porn, movies, and programs, that we Americans, Canucks, and Brits, have experienced for free by both legal and illegal means on the internet, the only other way we could have experienced this much is to be a millionaire.
I mean, right now, I got 16,846 songs on my hard drive. With an album averaging 12 songs per album, at an average of $12 per album that's a dollar per song, thus $16,846 worth of music. And that's not even close to as much songs I have watched on youtube. Now you add in the hundreds of movies I've seen in the past decade, and the 50 to 70 new games, and the 300 to 400 old games that run on DOSbox, and add up how much all of this would have cost. I have made many friends on-line, and I even started a band online way back, and met lots of single ladies in my neighborhood online.
If I could imagine the past 15 years without the internet, all I can see is me in front of the TV. And considering the garbage that comes on today, could you imagine a life of watching nothing but today's reality TV and cop dramas. Or what about all the so called comedies with their obnoxious laugh tracks and non stop sex jokes and fart jokes. Imagine that replacing the internet.
And what about all the lovely time cybering with a hottie on a web cam for free. Used to be a man had to pay big bucks to get a strip show, now with all the college girls and their girl power sex liberation and their daddy issues, getting a hot girl on camera is fast and easy.
And those late nights of hanging out with your guild mates in some MMO and pulling practical jokes on each other, all gone.
Yeah, you better believe life for me, and a lot of people, would be a lot more empty, more boring, without the internet.
There are more questions, and some of them are reasonable questions where answering in the affirmative would indicate some sort of a "problem" but often I'm left wondering what problem it may be. A lot of these questions would only be answered in the affirmative by someone with a screw loose, and I'm not just talking having a preoccupation with the internet, I'm talking pretty messed up and a strong tendency toward strange, bizarre, dangerous compulsions. Which leads me to realize something, a lot of people who have OCD are going to answer affirmative to these questions, not because there's really a such thing as internet addiction, but because they act compulsive in doing things. There are people who miss the bus, because their too busy chatting with someone online. However, because of their mindset, if there were no internet they would have missed the bus because they were chatting on the phone, was playing a video game too long, watching a TV show, trying to straighten a wrinkle in the bed sheets. Some people are just irresponsible and lack a sense of priority, and little impulse control.
I declare that there is no such thing as internet addiction, nor is there video game addiction. Addiction, or in non drug use ought to be more accurately called compulsion obsession, isn't the result of any one thing, but is instead the result of a certain psychological and neurological problem. Some people simply have little to no impulse control. And no matter what addiction they have that you take away, it is just going to be replaced by another addiction.
And in cases where the individual with a so called internet addiction isn't a classical OCD case, but still spend all their free time on the internet, you take away the internet and all of their time would be swallowed up by TV.
So for everyone who averages 8 hours a day on the computer, they'd just spend 8 hours a day watching TV.
And if we had to choose the lesser of the two evils, 8 hours on the computer is the lesser of those evils.
When we watch TV we turn our brains off. No thinking; only observing. No active participation; just passive spectating.
But 8 hours a day on the internet can easily consist of learning a new skill, holding conversations with other people, constructively building things like websites, blogs, pictures, hilarious youtube videos that entertain others. You might even accidentally invent some meme that for a split second, defines a culture, before the fad dies in about 6 months. About every 6 months some new fad comes out, getting rick rolled or taking an arrow to the knee. Sure they're stupid after the first few months, but someone had to invent these things. And you want to know what's sad, whoever invented the rick roll concept has contributed more uniqueness to society than 99% of the television spectators who's only contribution is standing on the assembly line in a big factory.
What I find bothersome about all this is that there is a very strong possibility that internet addiction and video game addiction will actually make it into the DSM (the official book of psychological disorders).
I mean, nothing makes the corporate media happier than saying their competition for attention, is a disease. And nothing makes Psychologists happier than having one more excuse to get people to pay their hard earned money for a shoulder to cry on.
And I have little doubt that video game addiction will make it into the DSM. And I'm sure they'll have all sorts of tests for it, and neurologists will get in on this. They'll run brain scans of some 12 year old boy who is sitting in an empty room for hours with nothing to do. And then they'll sit him down in front of a really awesome fast paced game, and they'll detect the change in brain chemistry and show how he's got more dopamine, and electrical readout from the pleasure center of the brain, and they'll compare it to someone smoking crack and show how both a fun game and smoking crack make the brain release happy chemicals thus one is every bit as addictive as the other. And of course the pharmaceutical companies will get in on this and start doping up test subjects with tons of anti depressants and then showing how when a kid is all doped up and tired, he doesn't have as many happy chemicals when playing a game, and how that's proof the drug is reducing the addiction.
And I can see the mainstream news showing us video footage of hyper happy kids jumping up and down and being loud while playing a video game, and the voice over talks about this like it's a horrible disease, and then shows the kids calmly sitting there doped up on this wonderful antidepressant not really caring one way or the other about the game. And all of the easily frightened parents with the quick fix mentality will rush their kids to the doctor and stop buying video games.
And then, the next revision of the DSM, the internet is next. And when the internet is a disease, corporations will monitor your online activity like they monitor your blood for drugs. And it will all be done under the guise that people with an internet addiction perform badly at work, and because they log in so many hours they get sleep deprived and that causes them to endanger the safety of all employees.
OK, maybe I am being a bit paranoid there. But this is the trend, the style, this is how the world sadly enough works.
So what do you people think about internet addiction?Edit: Moved topic from General Chat to the more appropriate forum. ~ Animal