Are You Addicted to the Internet?

Be honest. How many times do you check Facebook or Twitter throughout the day to see if you’ve been mentioned or retweeted? Do you ever find that you’re so absorbed in your screen that you forget to pay attention to the world around you? Do you ever stay up way past your bedtime because you can’t turn off the computer? If so, maybe it’s time to admit you have a problem.

The American Psychiatric Association hasn’t yet classified internet addiction as a mental health disorder, but maybe they should.

The average American spends 8 hours on average staring at a screen, according to Insurance.com, which also found that an estimated 5-10% of Internet users are addicted. A whopping 1/3 of people surveyed said they consider the Internet as essential as food, water and shelter.

Not surprisingly, more Americans need glasses from all of the eyestrain they experience staring at a computer (the number of Americans who need glasses has risen from 25% to 41.6% in the last 30 years).

Internet addiction could also be causing depression in kids—or else kids who are already depressed may escape to the internet. In a study of 216 kids, the 30% who displayed signs of depression were, coincidentally or not, also the ones who used the internet most.

There are other dangers of the internet—bullying, sleep deprivation and stress on relationships, not to mention bad posture!

All these statistics are, frankly, depressing. Should we, as a society, be concerned about internet addiction or is the problem overstated? Do you consider yourself an internet addict?