This ‘new’ addiction is actually an officially recognized addiction in a few countries (I believe Japan recently launched a campaign to end it and in Amsterdam a group of researchers opened a clinic for video game addicts).
There is a fine line between internet addiction and internet obsession. I believe all of us here on Helium are addicted to the internet. But we’re addicted because we crave new information and love the idea that the internet allows us all to have a voice in the world. The internet has shattered so many barriers it is mind blowing.
Procrastination has also been increased due to internet addictions. There is a whole world at your fingertips with everything imaginable just a click away. And I think it is this feature of the internet that leads to internet obsession. I check my MySpace and Facebook way too often, I check my email about 15 times a day when I have access to high speed internet; I browse message boards and look at online shops… I probably spend an average of 5 hours a day online, maybe on AIM, maybe on the web, maybe just staring at a page. These are pretty harmless things I do online and for most of this, our ‘addiction’ is just spending too much time blogging and too much time checking pointless sites.
But like I said the internet is the gateway to a world of information and access to everything one can imagine. Once one slips into the darker side of the internet, thats when the obsession begins…After knowing about multiple cases of sober living in nj and their background, I realized how this can happen.
Take online gambling and online poker…for many of us this is just a way to practice our poker skills or play for a little bit of money when we cant drive to the casino. But for some it turns into a dark addiction, where with just a few mouse clicks thousands of dollars can be won or lost. “Doesn’t it look so fun online, those digital chips look colorful, its hard to believe these chips represent my hard earned cash.”- This is what many gambling addicts say, and for one week it was what I started to believe. It was a game, I was up hundreds of dollars and couldn’t stop. I lost my initial buy-ins but kept buying back in, hell I figured I could win it back its easy. Within one week I had finally cut myself off, but lost hundreds of dollars doing it. The pleasure and fun was gone and all that was there was an empty feeling and a feeling of regret. I was lucky, because many people struggle daily with gambling addictions online and can’t stop for a while.
Pornography and adult content- One click and I can be at a collection of hardcore adult pictures for my viewing pleasure. Again like gambling it can be harmless entertainment, but for some people it gets to the point where viewing porn becomes their only desire AND even physical intimacy with another live person cant compare to the fun and thrill of viewing porn.
Online gaming (Ie World of Warcraft)- This is a fun and relatively low cost way to have fun. But what happens when your ‘online’ life becomes your ‘main’ life. When your missing work or time with friends to ‘do battle’ time and time again, when you know more about your ‘teammates’ then your own children. When does online gaming go from after work hobby, to 40hr a week obsession? Again this is another area where its a fine line between enjoyment and addiction.
Since this article is about ‘addiction’ and not about ‘dangers’ of the internet, I’ll exclude all the problems that are associated with social networking online, dating sites, scams, etc. But its very important I think to realize there are many people struggling with a true obsession and addiction to vices online.
Its one thing to sit here on Helium, MySpace or ITunes, then look over at the clock and realize you’ve procrastinated away a few hours. Its another when that same time, same internet connection, and same screen has led you thousands of dollars into debt, lost you relationships or jobs, ruined your health, and taken over your life.