A Growing Epidemic
What is Internet addiction and how much time online is too much? How young is too young for children to go online? What can you do to better manage your technology use in your daily life? I address these questions and more in my first TED talk.
I launched the first study on Internet addiction in 1995, I wrote “Caught in the Net” in 1998, the first book to treat Internet addiction, and I have worked ever since to develop and discuss research and treatment for this rapidly evolving problem.
Signs of Internet Addiction
Meeting 5 of the criteria of the Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ) means you are addicted.
- Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
- Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
- Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
- Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
- Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
- Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
- Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
- Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?
Other Symptoms Include:
- Failed attempts to control behavior
- Neglecting friends and family
- Neglecting sleep to stay online
- Being dishonest with others
- Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior
- Weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities