Compulsive Internet use has been categorized as a mental health issue in many countries, including the United States, but China was among the first to label “Internet addiction” a clinical disorder. This video shows the inner workings of a rehabilitation center where Chinese teenagers are “deprogrammed.”
There are now hundreds of treatment programs throughout China and South Korea. The first inpatient Internet addiction program in the United States recently opened in Pennsylvania. Here is the link to the CNN story about the program.
Is Internet addiction real?
According to The New York Times, Internet addiction affects 10 percent of the web users in the U.S. The so-called "Onlineaholics" spend endless hours surfing the web to the point that their Internet activity disturbs their daily life.
A growing number of therapists are treating web addicts with the 12-step programs, used to treat chemical addictions. The condition is not officially recognized as a psychiatric disorder and insurance companies do not pay for treatment.
The University of Massachusetts, Lowell has more information on the Internet addiction disorder: Take an Internet Addiction Survey Online
Online social networking may 'harm health' due to reduction of face-to-face contact
Aric Sigman pubslished his "warning" in Biologist, the journal of the Institute of Biology (click here for the original PDF). From BBC:
- Lack of face-to-face networking could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance
- Number of hours people spend interacting face-to-face has fallen dramatically since 1987, as the use of electronic media has increased
- "One of the most pronounced changes in the daily habits of British citizens is a reduction in the number of minutes per day that they interact with another human being," he said.
- "In less than two decades, the number of people saying there is no-one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled."
"Netiquette" and married couples
From the study:
Men are more associated with activities that have been associated with internet addiction. Men usually take more risks in their online activity.
Women are more likely to have lower computer self-efficacy and less positive internet attitudes. Women are more aware of privacy and economic risks in online transactions.
6% of married internet users have met their partner online.
In 30% of the couples at least one person checked their partner’s emails or read their partner’s SMS messages without them knowing. In 20% of the couples at least one the partners had checked their spouse’s browser history.
Hooked on the Web: Help Is on the Way. NYTimes, published: December 1, 2005
Is Internet addiction real? American Psychological Association
Netiquette within married couples
Helsper, E., & Whitty, M. (2010). Netiquette within married couples: Agreement about acceptable online behavior and surveillance between partners Computers in Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2010.02.006
Online networking 'harms health.' BBC.