Internet Addiction: Is it real?


My favorite tech resource, Mashable says it is. Late last week, Mashable put out an article containing an interesting infographic about internet addiction. The article states that through in informal survey, studies show that 61% of internet users feel addicted to the internet and are unable to stop browsing, although 39% say they could quit if they wanted to.. which I hardly believe. The demographic of 45-54 year-olds used the internet the most, spending almost 40 hours a week on the internet. That is not hard to believe either, seeing as most people spend all day on their computer for work. The next age bracket with the most hours per week (37.4) was the 35-44 year olds, and the next largest group (36.5 hours) was the age bracket of 55-64. Again, this is understandable due to the amount of virtual work being done these days.

What surprised me the most was that the teenage brackets were the lowest, with the age group 18-24 racking up 32 hours a week and the 12-17 group clocking in 22.3 hours a week. Perhaps the fact that we are in school has something to do with it, and contrary to popular belief, not everyone has smart phones, especially not the younger demographic. Perhaps our low numbers could have something to do with the fact that you can tweet/post to Facebook/do various other internet tasks from simply sending a text message.

This weekend, Mashable came out with another interesting article about tweeting too much. Could there even be such a thing?! According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, there is such a thing as too much Twitter. He explained that he believes that getting on the site, retrieving the information you need, and getting off is a much better way to approach Twitter, rather than spending 12+ hours a day reading tweets. He report reads: “I like the kind of engagement where you go to the website and you leave because you’ve found what you are looking for or you found something very interesting and you learned something. I think that’s a much healthier engagement. Obviously, we want you to come frequently.”

I don’t agree with this, however. Yes, I think that people entirely too much of their time on the internet, me included. I may be wrong, but I thought frequent uses of Twitter are what the site is about! What if I an engaged in an activity for a few hours without my computer or phone? I will go check Twitter when I have a little bit of down time. The micro-blogging style allows that to happen, which is why some people may spend upwards of 12 hours on the site a day. Information is always flowing through my Twitter feed, and I don’t want to miss it. I’m not saying to sit on the site all day and analyze every tweet, but I don’t see the problem with sitting down at the end of a busy day and spending a good part of an hour relaxing and reading tweets.

As for addiction, it is a very real phenomenon. And yes, people may be addicted to the internet. As with everything, the novelty will rub off one day. Perhaps because of all the new information that is constantly thrown at us, the addiction will take time, but believe me, it will wind down as the next big thing on the internet comes along!

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