internet addiction

Internet addiction: an unconvincing notion

“I thought I was addicted to Internet chatting. Turns out I was addicted to the person I was chatting with” (I.K., 27, female, loc. unknown)

Internet addiction is a hot topic in the scientific community (if you want evidence, here‘s a database containing a huge amount of articles published on it, between 1996 and 2006).

Internet addiction is a slippery topic, too. Definitions are vague, diagnostic tools are not standardised, negative consequences are questionable – can I really talk about social withdrawal if I spend 18 hours a day exchanging emails and IMing with my friends online? Most of all, Internet addiction has become kind of an unconvincing notion since ubiquitous computing has rendered the Internet just about as pervasive as – say – running water. Of course, my quality of life would decrease dramatically if I had to live without taking showers or washing my dishes. But can I say I am addicted to running water?

An effective way of curing Shower Addiction

An effective way of curing Shower Addiction

The same goes with the Internet. If I, for one, had to give up Google and word-processing, I would give up writing altogether. And that would be a major catastrophe. Can I say, in all sincerity, that I am addicted to Google? Or that I am, more likely, addicted to writing?