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Technology and Signs of the Times:

Have you seen the AT&T commercial about the family that loses their Internet connection?  It is a farcical depiction of what it might be like if your Internet goes down and how AT&T can save you from such horrors.  The wife runs in breathless to her husband and asks, “Is the internet back on yet?”  He answers in a deranged mental state with imaginary typing “Yeah-ssss!”.  The scene flashes to“19 minutes without Internet”.  The husband sits on the couch in almost a despondent and catatonic state while the wife, in hysterics, is trying to communicate a “like” on her friend’s Facebook page, to no avail.  Scene change:  Minute 22 without the Internet.  The husband is lying on the kitchen floor in front of the sink recalling fond memories of internet use.  He is in a sweaty state of Internet Withdrawal as the wife applies cold compresses to his forehead.  She comforts him.  Scene change:  Minute 27.  The husband appears out of the upstairs window while shooting an emergency flare and angrily yelling “We are over here!” to the imagined beings that might help save them and restore internet power.

Farcical commercial?  Or comedy imitates real life?   How internet-dependent have we have become? 

Signs of Internet Addiction

Dr. Kimberly S. Young,a licensed psychologist, founded the Center for Internet Addiction in 1995 and has since been raising awareness and developing treatment interventions for Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). Dr. Young established a group of criteriato exemplify the presence of Internet addiction. The answers to the following questions may help one to understand if there is a problem:

  • Do you stay online longer than you initially intended?
  • Are you unable to control your online usage and keep urges to stay on longer at bay?
  • Do you feel particularly preoccupied with the activities you perform online and think about those activities continually, even when you are not online?
  • Do you feel the need to spend greater and greater amounts of time online to feel satisfied?
  • Do you find yourself going on the Internet simply to escape life problems or relieve feelings of guilt, helplessness, loneliness, anxiety, or depression?
  • Do you keep going back online, even after spending too much money for fees?
  • Do you feel restless or agitated when you cut down on your online time or when you stop altogether?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you are not online such as an undesirable mood, an increase in irritability, or depression?
  • Do you lie to your loved ones and try to hide how frequently and how long you spend online?
  • Do you risk losing important relationships, affecting your job performance, or missing an educational or career opportunity due to the excessive amount of time you spend online?

According to Young, if you answered yes to four or more of the above questions then you probably meet the criteria for IAD.

The Internet is not problematic in and of itself, but when it gets in the way of life, impacts our daily living or relationships, or takes the place of interacting with our real life that it can be problematic. 

Additionally, In terms of sex addiction or pornography addiction, Internet use can be “the gateway drug” or set up contribution to cybersex addiction.  The internet created easy access and delivery system to pornographic material that one might never be exposed to otherwise.  Internet pornography addiction has proliferated by what the late researcher Al Cooper, PhD coined as the “The 3 A’s” in reference internet’s easy access, affordability (free in many cases) and one can access it so anonymously.