I realize you’re reading this article on the subject of Internet addiction on the Internet. I’m aware of the irony. It’s sort of like getting a pamphlet on gambling addiction next to the ATM inside a casino.
Anyway, Internet addiction is a real thing – and the leaders of the world’s largest social media companies want to help you overcome it. Here’s The Guardian with the story:
Although the idea of a clinical disorder of Internet addiction was first mooted in the 90s and is now regularly treated by doctors on both sides of the Atlantic, attention is shifting from compulsive surfing to the effects of the all-pervasive demands that our phones, laptops, tablets and computers are making on us.
In China, Taiwan and Korea, Internet addiction is accepted as a genuine psychiatric problem with dedicated treatment centres for teenagers who are considered to have serious problems with their web use. Next year, America’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the authority on mental illness, could include “internet use disorder” in its official listings.
In February, leaders of the largest social media companies will gather in San Francisco for the Wisdom 2.0 conference. The theme for the \conference, attended by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names, is finding balance in the digital age. Richard Fernandez, Google’s development director, has called it “quite possibly the most important gathering of our times“.
Fernandez plays a key role in Google’s “mindfulness” movement. Aimed at teaching employees the risks of becoming overly engaged with their devices and to improve their concentration levels and ability to focus, he says teaching people to occasionally disconnect is vital. “Consumers need to have an internal compass where they’re able to balance the capabilities that technology offers them for work with the qualities of the lives they live offline,” he says.
So are you addicted to the Internet? Here are a few tell-tale signs of addiction in general, courtesy of About.com:
- Extreme mood changes – happy, sad, excited, anxious, etc
- Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or at different times of day or night
- Changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Unexpected and persistent coughs or sniffles
- Seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times
- Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual
- Financially unpredictable, perhaps having large amounts of cash at times but no money at all at other times
- Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, odd cell-phone conversations
- Repeated unexplained outings, often with a sense of urgency