Could you be addicted to the internet?

I can't live without IE


Also in this week's column:

Can you be addicted to the internet?

Asked by Ian Anderson of Aberdeen, Scotland

Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is one of the new psychopathologies of the internet era.

The first mention of "internet addiction" was in a 1996 paper by Drs O.Egger and M Rauterberg of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

The first case of IAD in the clinical literature was presented by Dr KS Young of the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh campus in Bradford, Pennsylvania and appears in the February 1997 Psychological Reports. Bradford is now the home of the Centre for Internet Addiction.

The case concerns a 43-year-old housewife who was addicted to the internet yet who otherwise had no prior history of any other psychiatric problem.

It is unknown how many people suffer from IAD. There are several symptoms of IAD. These include:

  • A need for an ever increasing amount of time on the internet to achieve satisfaction or a dissatisfaction with the continued use of the same amount of time on the internet.
  • Two or more withdrawal symptoms developing within days, weeks, or up to a month after a reduction or cessation of internet use. These include distress or impairment of social, personal, or occupational functioning such that there is psychological or psychomotor agitation such as anxiety, restlessness, irritability, trembling, tremors, voluntary or involuntary typing movements of the fingers, obsessive thinking, fantasies, or dreams about the internet.
  • Internet engagement to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Internet often accessed more often or for longer periods of time than was intended.
  • A significant amount of time is spent in activities related to internet use (for example, internet surfing).
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities eliminated or reduced due to internet use.
  • Risk of loss of a significant relationship, job, educational, or career opportunity due to excessive internet use.
  • Internet engagement used as a way of escaping problems or relieving feelings of guilt, helplessness, anxiety, or depression.
  • Concealing from or lying to family members about the extent of internet use.
  • Internet user driven to financial difficulty due to incurring unaffordable internet fees.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au


Other stories you might like

  • FTC urged to protect data privacy of women visiting abortion clinics
    As Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v Wade, safeguards on location info now more vital than ever

    Democrat senators have urged America's Federal Trade Commission to do something to protect the privacy of women after it emerged details of visits to abortion clinics were being sold by data brokers.

    Women's healthcare is an especially thorny issue right now after the Supreme Court voted in a leaked draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark ruling that declared women's rights to have an abortion are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.

    If the nation's top judges indeed vote to strike down that 1973 decision, individual states, at least, can set their own laws governing women's reproductive rights. Thirteen states already have so-called "trigger laws" in place prohibiting abortions – mostly with exceptions in certain conditions, such as if the pregnancy or childbirth endangers the mother's life – that will go into effect if Roe v Wade is torn up. People living in those states would, in theory, have to travel to another state where abortion is legal to carry out the procedure lawfully, although laws are also planned to ban that.

    Continue reading
  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading
  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading
  • 381,000-plus Kubernetes API servers 'exposed to internet'
    Firewall isn't a made-up word from the Hackers movie, people

    A large number of servers running the Kubernetes API have been left exposed to the internet, which is not great: they're potentially vulnerable to abuse.

    Nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation recently scanned 454,729 systems hosting the popular open-source platform for managing and orchestrating containers, finding that more than 381,645 – or about 84 percent – are accessible via the internet to varying degrees thus providing a cracked door into a corporate network.

    "While this does not mean that these instances are fully open or vulnerable to an attack, it is likely that this level of access was not intended and these instances are an unnecessarily exposed attack surface," Shadowserver's team stressed in a write-up. "They also allow for information leakage on version and build."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022